Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee (D-Nelson) is introducing a bill that would assist New York State’s agriculture industry through the creation of a self-sustaining egg promotion and research fund.
“Without getting egg on my face, it is safe to say that this follows what we have been trying to do the last few years in the Assembly – namely, creating new marketing opportunities for New York farm products that will allow current farmers to expand and new farmers to join their ranks, it is really the ultimate form of farmland preservation,” Magee said.
There were, on average, approximately four million chickens in New York State in the year 2000 producing in excess of 1.1 billion eggs with a value of over $52 million. The largest egg producing states in the United States in 2000 were Ohio and Iowa with New York ranking a distant twenty-first in terms of egg production.
“Unfortunately, what we have in this state is a huge number of eggs being imported from other states,” Magee noted. “There is no real reason why we could not, through this egg promotion fund, promote the health benefits of our locally produced eggs and certainly part of that is also pointing out to the consumer the importance of supporting New York farms for the economic benefits they provide our state.”
The Egg Promotion Program Fund would be a self-sustaining program funded through a three cent per case surcharge charged to egg producers who distribute eggs in New York State affecting both in-state and out-of-state producers. The Fund would be administered by the Department of Agriculture and Markets in consultation with the Board of Directors of the New York Poultry Association. The creation of this fund is supported by the New York Poultry Association which represents the interests of New York egg producers.
“At the end of the day, we all talk about farmland preservation and the biggest part of that has got to be ensuring the profitability and viability of our farms and farmers and the creation of this egg promotion fund goes along way in helping out our agriculture industry and marketing our bounty of agricultural products,” Magee commented.
“Our working and productive farms absolutely have to be our first priority otherwise all we are going to end up with are old barns and fallow lots, not working farms and producing fields,” Magee concluded.