Albany, NY – Senator Michelle Hinchey and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Agriculture Committees, today announced the details of each chamber’s one-house budget proposals for agriculture, which reflect historic support for New York farmers and local food production. Hinchey and Lupardo were successful in restoring all cuts within their one-house proposals and delivering major increases in operating aid and capital funding.
“Agriculture is the foundation for all that sustains us, and our one-house proposal is a bold reflection of our commitment to ensuring that the investments we’re fighting for not only increase farm revenues today but guarantee the prosperity of New York agriculture, and our local food supply, decades into the future,” Senate Agriculture Chair Michelle Hinchey said. “We’ve proposed record investments that will create new markets for farmers to sell their products, bolster research and development, preserve our best agricultural lands and make sure those lands successfully change hands to a new and diverse generation of farmers, expand access to fresh, local food for all New Yorkers, and ensure farmers are adequately compensated for being at the forefront of our fight against the Climate Crisis. It is an honor to champion such an expansive purview on behalf of New York agriculture, and I look forward to seeing to it that these crucial investments are included in our final budget.”
Assembly Agriculture Chair Donna Lupardo said, “We have once again prioritized agriculture and food in this year’s state budget and I’m pleased to report that the Assembly and Senate objectives are well aligned. We want to ensure that all aspects of New York’s agriculture economy are supported, including research and development, education and outreach, and programs that support a new and diverse group of farmers. With assistance from the farm community, our goal is to make sure the final enacted budget reflects these priorities."
Both the Senate and Assembly budget proposals also include funding for several legacy programs, including the Agri-Business Child Development program (ABCD), which provides child care and social services to farmworker families, the Cornell Diagnostic Center, which helps ensure that farmers have affordable access to veterinary testing to protect livestock, and NY FarmNet, which provides farmers with support and services spanning mental health and financial analysis to retirement and succession planning. Key research and development support through Cornell includes funding for hops breeding ($300,000), maple ($151,000), vegetables ($126,000), concord grapes ($252,000), and onions (71,000), which is critical to yielding information and solutions that help farmers produce healthier and more sustainable crops.
Strong support for a new and diverse next generation of New York farmers is proposed in each one-house and includes $4 million for the Socially/Economically Disadvantaged Farmers Grant Program, $1 million to support the Beginning Farmers Grant Program, and support for the Farmland for a New Generation program developed to help retiring farmers transition their lands to those entering the trade.
The Assembly and Senate proposals also include record investments for specialist support, including funding for Cornell to hire a second Farm Labor Specialist and bilingual translator – a position important for communicating up-to-date information to farmers and farmworkers across the state. Increased funding is also proposed to support the continued employment of the full-time Cornell CALS Pro-Dairy Climate Specialist who works with New York dairy farmers to ensure they have the information and knowledge base to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and meet the 15% GHG emissions goals set by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) for agriculture.
The Senate One-House includes two first-ever programs critical to New York’s economic and environmental sustainability, including funding to pay farmers for their climate work to manage the forests and woodlands on their properties and an economic incentive package within the Excelsior Jobs Program to bring hemp manufacturing and processing capabilities to New York. The Assembly One-House sets aside a total of $20M for the Food Access Expansion Grant Program to address food deserts and food insecurity, as well as $15M in capital funding for the expansion of the Cornell Veterinary Diagnostic Lab to increase testing capabilities. Both Hinchey and Lupardo are fighting to ensure each of these important initiatives is reflected in the final budget.
David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President, said, "The Senate and Assembly one-house budget bills make a significant investment in New York agriculture, including funding for critical research, marketing, and environmental programs. New York Farm Bureau thanks the Agriculture Committee Chairs, Sen. Michelle Hinchey and Assembly Member Donna Lupardo, for their great support for the state's farmers and food system. Working together they have prioritized agriculture's needs, including support for a refundable investment tax credit for farms and increasing the ability for the state to procure more local farm products. Investing in agriculture is an investment into New York's economy and the availability of local food.”
Northeast Dairy Producers Association Chair Keith Kimball said, “NEDPA thanks Agriculture Committee Chairs Michelle Hinchey and Donna Lupardo for proposing necessary investments that support the future of farming in New York State. Funding for Cornell’s Climate and Farm Labor Specialist positions will ensure family dairy farms have access to resources that support the industry’s net-zero emissions goal and assist with regulatory and workforce changes and challenges. We look forward to working with our elected leaders in the coming weeks to deliver critical funding for the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, which has received static support from the state for over a decade. NYCAMH’s safety specialists provide necessary bilingual safety training to farmworkers and farmers, which supports the health and success of New York’s entire dairy industry. All these investments are crucial to maintaining a strong, local, and secure food supply, and we are grateful for the Legislature’s support. Additionally, as the Legislature continues to work toward a final state budget, we urge our elected leaders to be mindful of the viability of our upstate economy when considering any additional mandates that increase costs for our small and family-owned businesses.”