New York Farm Bureau's State Budget Statement

NY lawmakers support numerous critical farm and food programs in the passage of the 2018-2019 state budget

The following can be attributed to New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher:

“New York Farm Bureau congratulates lawmakers on an on-time state budget that addresses many of the needs of the state’s farmers.  These include dozens of essential programs that support research, promotion and marketing programs that allow our farmers to adjust to new challenges and expand market opportunities.  This year’s budget saw a nine-percent increase in funding for NY FarmNet which is sorely needed as the service is seeing a 50% increase in calls from farmers to help them cope with the stresses of a down farm economy. Some other budget lines that saw additional funding include honeybee research, hops and barley programs and support for the growing craft beverage industry. In addition, the full budget support of the Environmental Protection Fund also has a real impact on advancing conservation programs and a strong stewardship record on farms across New York.

New York Farm Bureau also commends Governor Cuomo and the legislature for committing $10 million to increase the school lunch reimbursement rate for the first time in decades. Now, school districts will see rates jump from nearly six-cents a meal to 25-cents if they source 30% of their lunch budgets on New York grown, produced or processed food. Not only will this expand market opportunities for farmers but it will also put more locally sourced, fresh food onto students’ lunch plates across the state.

New York State is also committing $5 million to improve infrastructure at county fairs. The investment will update facilitates and provide for a better educational experience for fairgoers whose only connection to agriculture may be the annual visit to their local county fair.

Despite the positive news, New York Farm Bureau was disappointed that a couple of other priority issues were not included. We understand it was a tight fiscal year, but we will continue to press for the doubling of the minimum wage agricultural tax credit over the rollout of the mandated wage hike. It is especially important in light of the poor farm economy. We will also pursue new funding in the future for Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences capital fund. We are facing shortfalls in New York in maintaining quality research facilities at our Land Grant University as well as competitive pressure to retain and attract outstanding research faculty. We need to commit to funding both as farmers face new challenges in the future from changing weather patterns, invasive species and the marketplace,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.