Speaker Carl Heastie and Agriculture Committee Chair Donna Lupardo today announced the Assembly’s State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22 Budget will include $35.41 million in funding for agricultural aid to localities and other critical agricultural programs. The budget also includes investments to help farmers get their products to New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity.
“Throughout the course of this global pandemic, farms across New York State have worked tirelessly to help us keep up with demand at our food banks,” said Speaker Heastie. “They have played a critical role during this difficult time. Now more than ever, we need to ensure that our farms have the resources they need to keep our families fed.”
“We owe a great deal to the people who produce our food. In this budget we are delivering on this obligation by making significant investments in the programs and services farmers and processors rely on,” said Assemblymember Lupardo. “While the pandemic brought to light vulnerabilities in our food supply chain, it also heightened awareness of where our food comes from and how much we depend on those who produce and deliver it.”
The Assembly’s proposed budget would provide $35.41 million for Agricultural Aid to Localities, an increase of $8 million above the Executive Budget. Assembly appropriations include funding for vital research and development, education and outreach, and agriculture development, including:
- Agriculture Migrant Child Care;
- Cornell “Core” Diagnostic Lab;
- New York Farm Viability Institute;
- Cornell University Farm Family Assistance (FarmNet);
- Northern NY Agricultural Development;
- NYC CCE - Urban Agricultural Education and Outreach; and
- American Farmland Trust, Regional Navigator and Resource Center.
The Assembly proposal would also fund new agricultural programs, including:
- Cornell Equitable Farm Futures Initiative;
- Hops Research and Extension; and
- Sheep Producers Association.
The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis made it harder for many New Yorkers to put food on the table. To help connect New York’s farmers with programs that get food to those in need, the Assembly spending plan includes an additional $25 million for Nourish NY, for a total funding of $50 million, and makes the program permanent. The Assembly budget would also add $1 million to Cornell Cooperative Extension for a total of $4.92 million in funding.
The Assembly proposal includes an additional allocation of $10 million for county fairs to assist in their reopening process after all the fairs were shut down last season due to COVID. The proposal also provides a $5 million restoration for capital improvements at local fairs as well as a $5 million restoration for capital improvements at animal shelters, pounds, and humane societies.
The Assembly’s proposed budget includes $1 billion for a new Small Business Reopening and Relief Grant Program to aid small businesses, including farms.
The Assembly proposal would also increase funding in the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) for Farmland Protection by $10 million for a total $27 million.
The proposed budget provides a $1.2 million appropriation for capital improvements at Agriculture Migrant Child Care centers.