New York Farm Bureau Hosts Successful 2023 State Convention
Tarrytown, NY – New York Farm Bureau members charted a course for their future as they set public policy positions for the year ahead at the 2023 State Convention in Tarrytown, NY. This was the 67th annual meeting of the organization where delegates from 52 county Farm Bureaus discussed and voted on policy positions that New York Farm Bureau will advocate for at the state and federal levels.
The theme for this year’s convention, “A Bridge to Opportunity,” brought members, agribusinesses and thought leaders together to discuss how to better connect farmers and food purchasers. There was also a unique business strategy wargame led by Aimpoint Research where participants competed as both producers and food buyers to find innovative approaches to improve the food supply chain. The event also included six educational workshops that focused on many topics including risk management and safety, New York State tax credits, farm succession, and engaging with Gen Z consumers.
Aimpoint’s Brett Sciotto, the CEO of the global, strategic intelligence firm specializing in agri-food, gave the keynote address. His message reinforced that national security depends on having a strong, resilient food system that can feed the people of the United States, He says breaking down silos within the industry and investing in innovation will strengthen our food chain in the face of labor, infrastructure, and regulatory challenges.
“New York Farm Bureau worked hard this year to expand programming and provide a better experience for our members. Our organization is the bridge to fostering stronger relationships with public officials and our partners across agriculture and in the business community. The convention was an important event that looked to help our farmers plan and innovate for the future,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.
Delegates also elected members to the state board during the State Convention. New directors this year include Karen Rivara, a shellfish farmer from Greenport, NY, representing Long Island in District 11 and Rich De Meyer a grain farmer from Hilton, NY, who will represent the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. Other directors reelected include Lavern Warriner of Andover, NY, for District 1. Kim Skellie from Newark, NY, in District 3, Dan Palladino of Pompey, NY, in District 5, Tony LaPierre from Chazy, NY, in District 7, and Steven Smith of Schoharie, NY, in District 9.
During the awards banquet, Pat Hooker received the 2023 New York Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award, the organization’s highest honor. Hooker is a former New York State Deputy Secretary of Food and Agriculture and served as Commissioner of Agriculture. Before those positions, he was New York Farm Bureau’s Public Policy Director. His various roles put him at the center of many important public policy decisions that positively impacted the state’s agricultural community.
Also, Yates County Farm Bureau President John Kriese received the James Quinn Award which recognizes an individual for their membership and community involvement efforts. His tireless work included support for young people entering agriculture and promoting a safe rural roads campaign.
The New York Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee recognized Tom Coene of Wayne County Farm Bureau as the winner of the YF&R Discussion Meet competitive event. Coene will represent New York at the American Farm Bureau discussion meet contest next month at the national convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jake Zajkowski of Cornell’s Collegiate Chapter won the college discussion meet in New York and will represent New York Farm Bureau at the national YF&R Leadership Conference this March in Omaha, NE.
Other notable guests who participated in panel discussions and events included New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball, Julie Anna Potts, Nationwide Insurance Board Member and CEO of the North American Meat Institute, Nathan Pistner, Plant Manager of Great Lakes Cheese, Jim Davenport of Tollgate Farms, Ethan Ball, General Manager of Schoharie Valley Farms, Stephen O’Brien, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Policy in New York City’s Public Schools Office of Food and Nutrition Services, Sofia Degtyar, Lead Procurement Manager for Grow NYC’s Wholesale Division, and Dan Egan, Executive Director of Feeding New York State.
Next year’s State Convention will be held December 4 & 5 at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY.
Some of the new delegate approved public policy positions added this year include:
We support legislation that would prohibit any foreign government from purchasing agricultural land in New York State.
We oppose all-electric initiatives for rural areas until such time as:
a. The grid is upgraded to support that level of electrical production & consumption.
b. Alternatives are incorporated into the system for times of weather emergencies.
c. Exemptions are incorporated into the system for vehicles and machines where batteries do not allow a vehicle to carry enough power for the task at hand.
d. Exemptions are incorporated into the system for locations where the grid is inadequate to support that level of consumption.
e. The costs to do so are not prohibitive to farmers.
We support legislation allowing students attending/participating in work-based learning events like 4-H and FFA programs to count their participation towards school attendance. Students would be responsible for obtaining assignments missed while the student was participating in an eligible program.
We support the recommendations and funding requests of the NYS Natural Fibers Textile Development Workgroup including supporting creation of Grown & Certified natural fiber products for distribution at Taste NY stores.
We support allowing all participants in the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SRFMNP) to purchase locally produced honey, cider, eggs, dairy, maple and USDA-certified frozen meat products sold at farmers’ markets or certified roadside markets with SRFMNP vouchers.
We support the creation of a permanently funded disaster loss program or insurance-type program for milk that will provide assistance to farms when natural disasters or weather-related events hamper the ability of farmers to get their product to market.
We support the PRIME Act, increasing access to slaughterhouses, allowing small-scale farmers and ranchers to slaughter and process their own animals closer to home at custom slaughterhouses which are small facilities regulated by state law instead of the USDA.
New York Farm Bureau is the State’s largest agricultural lobbying/trade organization. Its members and the public know the organization as “The Voice of New York Agriculture.” New York Farm Bureau’s mission is “Supporting today’s agricultural needs and creating member opportunities for tomorrow through advocacy and education.”