NYFB Budget Testimony
The state’s largest agricultural organization highlights needed NYS budget funding, including for animal health, promotion, environmental management, and workforce development programs.
New York Farm Bureau’s public policy director, Jeff Williams, testified in Albany today before the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Environment and Agriculture. The organization prioritized critical programs that are funded in the New York State Budget that support the wide diversity of farms across the state.
Williams noted the challenges many farms still grapple with because of high input costs and low commodity prices, and how state budget support can expand opportunities for farmers and their employees, along with our greater food system.
“We genuinely appreciate the investment in the agricultural industry outlined by the Governor. As this is a promising first step, we continue to face challenges as an industry that we look forward to working with the Legislature and Governor on addressing. Although our farmers are struggling, there is incredible potential and opportunities that lie ahead. It is vital our industry is offered those opportunities,” said Williams in the prepared testimony.
Some of the budget items New York Farm Bureau highlighted:
· The promotional or research programs that depend on support from the legislature include vegetables, apples, berries, grapes, maple, Turfgrass, hops and craft beverages, along with the Farm Viability Institute.
· Further investment in PRO-DAIRY and PRO-Livestock at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Science. These science-based programs assist farmers in addressing climate change and adapting to new technologies to improve their farms and best management practices.
· Continued support and increased funding for the Environmental Protection Fund. Many of the programs, such as Farmland Protection, Agricultural Nonpoint, Pollinator BMP’s, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts, are vital for providing resources to farmers to best manage and conserve our environment.
· Support for the Nourish-NY and Healthy School Meals for All programs, which would expand market opportunities and help farmers and consumers alike.
· Funding for the Cornell Farm Labor Specialist program that provides one-on-one advice for farmers all over the state that results in real changes on farms to improve efficiencies, management practices, and working conditions.
· Expand the refundable investment tax credit to include the construction of new farm housing or the rehabilitation of current farm housing to improve the quality of life for farmworkers.
Click here to read NYFB’s full budget testimony with additional funding priorities.