Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C,I-Schoharie) today concluded his fourth-annual tour of New York state farms, agribusinesses and agricultural facilities attended by a large, bipartisan group of Senate and Assembly members from across the state, which was hosted this year by Senator George Borrello (SD-57).
The tour highlighted the realities of the operation of farms and agri-businesses, particularly in light of a looming reduction to the farm laborer overtime threshold from 60 hours to 40 recently advanced by the Farm Laborers Wage Board that would make it more difficult than ever for small and family farms to remain profitable and viable as businesses.
“Farmers and farm laborers do hard work we all depend on to nourish ourselves and our families, and my hope is that by conducting this farm tour for legislators who aren’t from rural areas, that they will believe farmers, farm workers, and I when we say the work of a farm cannot be completed on a 40 hour per-week schedule,” said Tague.
The tour visited several businesses during the two-day tour, including Country Ayre Farms in DeWittville, Canticle Farm in Allegany, Sprague’s Maple Farm in Portville, Cuba Cheese Shoppe in Cuba, Pumpkinville in Great Valley, Cabana Sam’s Sunset Bay Grill in Irving, the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory in Portland, 21 Brix Wine in Portland, Growers’ Cooperative Grape Juice Company in Westfield, and Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood.
“Every year on this tour I aim to show others that agriculture is a sector much more expansive than just traditional farms that might come to mind when one thinks about the term ‘agriculture’, and how important the production of fresh and local meat, dairy, and produce is to other industries of all kinds. Many of our favorite restaurants, breweries, wineries, and other craft businesses depend on a steady supply of farm-to-table food products to make their offerings as delicious as we know them to be, but their ability to continue offering dishes and products made from locally-sourced ingredients will be jeopardized like never before if farming becomes unviable as a profitable business for the small farms in our state they depend on.”