News about agriculture in New York State and information farmers and consumers can use in their daily lives.
Friday, February 8, 2013
Asssemblyman Wants Study of Minimum Wage Increase Effect on Agriculture
This was taken from Assemblyman Robert Oaks' Facebook page:
Assemblyman Robert Oaks (R,C-Macedon) has written to New York State
Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Darrel Aubertine, asking him to
begin analyzing how a proposed raise in the minimum wage will impact the
agricultural industry in New York State.
The assemblyman was surprised
to learn during the Feb. 4, 2013 state budget hearing that, in spite of
supporting a higher minimum wage, the department could not speak to the
effect it would have on farming enterprises, particularly marginal
The text of the letter, sent on February 6, 2013, follows.
“On February 4, 2013, I was present to hear First Deputy Agriculture
Commissioner James Bays testify during the hearing on the Department of
Agriculture and Markets’ spending plan for the next year. While there
are many positives included for New York’s number one industry in the
budget as proposed by Gov. Cuomo, I would like to share a concern that
was raised during the testimony.
“I asked Mr. Bays if Ag and
Markets had done an analysis on how an increase to the minimum wage
would impact the agriculture industry in New York State. He replied that
the agency has not, that it was something that needed to be “zeroed in
on.” Mr. Bays indicated, however, that Ag and Markets does support
raising the minimum wage because it would be more in line with the cost
of living and it would stimulate spending.
businesses and other concerns in my district and across the state, a
higher minimum wage would mean increased costs. It could very well put
New York’s farmers at a disadvantage and cause marginal agricultural
operations to be placed in great peril.
“Jeff Williams of the
New York Farm Bureau also testified at the hearing, and expressed strong
concerns with the impact the minimum wage increase would have on
agriculture in the state. He was especially worried about the impact the
increase would have on youth training programs. Should the minimum wage
be increased, he proposed a “training wage” that would allow
individuals under the age of 18 to work for a reduced wage while
learning basic job skills, while they worked their way into minimum
"In that light, I would urge the Department of Agriculture and Markets to immediately undertake an analysis as to determine how a higher minimum wage would affect the many different entities involved in New York's agricultural industry. It may also be an opportunity for the department to explore the alternative option of a starting or training wage as proposed by the New York Farm Bureau."