Governor Kathy Hochul presented her plan for New York during her State of the State on Wednesday that included proposals to help New York farmers thrive. Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) and farmers across the North Country found the Governor’s agriculture agenda to be promising. “This is the first time in my many years of watching State of the State addresses that I’ve seen farmers featured so prominently,” said Assemblyman Jones. “Considering the difficulties farmers have experienced over the past two years, it’s so important that the State steps up and provides much-needed support for New York’s agricultural industry.”
During her speech, Governor Hochul proposed increasing existing tax credits and creating a new tax credit to support food production. One of her plans is to increase the Farm Workforce Retention Tax Credit by doubling the yearly fixed dollar amount per eligible employee and extending the program to 2025. Another part of her plan is to increase the Investment Tax Credit which allows farmers to purchase new equipment that could further automate their farms in response to the workforce shortage. Hochul also proposed creating a new permanent Overtime Tax Credit on overtime hours for any size farm in New York to offset increasing labor costs to farmers.
“Increasing and creating new tax credits for farmers is a vital step in helping New York farmers stay afloat,” said Assemblyman Jones. “I’ve witnessed firsthand the struggles many farms have experienced for years and have unfortunately seen too many farms in my hometown close due to these difficulties. These tax credits will help North Country farms that have been in families for generations keep operating and providing fresh local food for our communities.”
“The tax credits proposed by Governor Hochul will provide an important lifeline to North Country farms,” said Kirby Selkirk, President of Franklin County Farm Bureau. “Not only will the tax credits strengthen our local food system but will also ease the burden of rising labor costs that are bleeding so many farms dry.”
“I was pleased by the proposals prioritizing farmers and supporting local food production,” said Todd Giroux, President of Clinton County Farm Bureau. “Farmers can’t charge consumers more for their goods to help with the rising costs of labor and these tax credits are a step forward for the New York agricultural industry.”
Governor Hochul also proposed measures to improve the food supply chain. She plans to fund the Nourish New York initiative annually, expand SNAP access to New York State farms, and transfer the National School Lunch Program to Department of Agriculture and Markets. These initiatives will help bring fresh, locally produced food to more New Yorkers. Additionally, the Governor announced plans to expand and implement various grant programs available to farmers to support them in expanding their operations and modernizing their farms.
“Nourish New York has not only helped farmers unload over 35 million pounds of surplus food supply but has also helped so many New Yorkers in need have access to fresh, healthy food,” said Jones. “I am pleased that the Governor recognizes the importance of Nourish New York, as well as SNAP and the National School Lunch Program to New York farmers, and recognizes the role farmers play in our local economies. Farmers have been essential to keeping food on our plates and the focus on agriculture in the State of the State is a breath of fresh air.”
“Helping farmers reach more New Yorkers through Nourish New York, SNAP, and the National School Lunch Program is great for all involved and I look forward to how these proposals will positively impact farms in Franklin County,” said Selkirk.
“Farmers are the backbone of our local economy not only through job creation, but by keeping New Yorkers fed and it’s encouraging to see the State provide support to the New York agricultural industry,” said Giroux.