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Legislative Affairs

Priority Issues for 2016

The New York Farm Bureau Board of Directors has established the following state and national Priority Issues for 2016. See NYFB's complete state and national priority issue booklets as PDF files. 

 

Also view NYFB's budget analysis of the Governor's 2016 Executive Budget Proposal and Minimum Wage Increase: Impact on Agriculture case study.

 

2016 Policy Book 

 


 

STATE PRIORITIES

 

• Strong opposition to any minimum wage increase or unworkable employer mandates in New York State

 

• Support critical funding for current agricultural animal health, promotion and research in the final 16/17 state budget, including:

  • New funding for a FFA Start-Up program (three year support structure) in final 16/17 budget
  • Funding for secondary agricultural education programs, including BOCES
  • New funding for local fair infrastructure initiative
  • Increased funding for the Environmental Protection Program, including the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution and Abatement program and Soil and Water Conservation Districts to meet the water quality requirements of the new CAFO permit and water quality compliance requirements across the state, including Chesapeake Bay regulations

• Transfer farm assessment functions from the Department of Taxation and Finance to the Department of Agriculture and Markets

• Ensure parity for road and bridge funding between upstate and downstate New York

• Ensure a fair and effective implementation of the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) process

 

 

 

NATIONALS

 

 

Food Security and Safety

•Monitor implementation of FDA’s series of food safety rules, particularly those dealing with produce and animal feed, balance the compliance burden with an actual public health benefit. 
  • Ensure that FDA provides the necessary funds and information for the states to implement the rule fairly and consistently. 
  • Funds must be appropriated for FDA to provide adequate training of inspectors and provide for inspections for foreign farms. We must ensure foreign farms are held to the same standards so as not to make domestic farms non-competitive and offshore our food production.  
 

Regulatory Reform

•Continue to oppose expanded federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act and support measures to prevent EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers from implementing the rule defining of “Waters of the U.S.”.
•Update the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) wetland determination process by allowing third party accredited individuals to complete determinations as well as NRCS staff. This will help to reduce the amount of time farmers have to wait to have a determination completed. 
•Improve the federal regulatory process. Farmers need a regulatory system that is fair, and that takes economic impacts of regulation into account and does not hinder a farmer’s ability to do business.
Technology
•Support legislation which would continue the science-based regulatory process for biotechnology, inform consumers, provide consistency and oppose mandatory labeling requirements of foods containing genetically engineered products.  Broad or individual state labeling requirements are not based on science and undermine the public’s trust in the safe and nutritious food our farmers grow, without balancing the benefits that GMOs provide to our environment, and to hungry populations worldwide.
 

Trade

•Continue to support the next generation of trade negotiations that remove unscientific barriers to trade and provide opportunities for U.S. farmers, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with the European Union. 
•Continue to oppose limitations on the use of geographic indicators. Restricting geographical names for foods would inhibit the marketability and competitiveness of U.S. food products. 
 

Agricultural Immigration Reform

•End the immigration stalemate and pass reform legislation that addresses short- and long-term farm labor needs. Reform should allow for current, trained workers to stay on farms and maintain a consistent workforce to plant and harvest crops, and care for livestock. It should also replace the H2A program with a new guest worker visa program that ensures a continuous, legal workforce in the future for all sectors of agriculture, including dairy. 
•Until this is completed:
  • Work with Congress to minimize negative impacts of farm labor shortages.
  • Oppose a mandatory E-Verify program unless and until a new comprehensive agricultural guestworker program is in place to provide farmers with workforce security.
 

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