Monday, March 3, 2014

State Begins new Ag Task Force

A new Strategic Interagency Task Force on Lessening Obstacles to Agriculture (SILO) has been formed in New York state to address barriers to the growth of New York’s agricultural economy. 

Task force members, comprised of leadership from state government and representatives from the field of agriculture, will work together to ensure that state agencies that deal with farmers are communicating regularly, interacting efficiently, and lessening regulations on farms. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo already has conducted a number of "summits" to learn more about various parts of the agriculture industry to try to help them grow. The summit approach already has paid dividends for New York agriculture. 

Since the inaugural Yogurt Summit, where state government listened to the needs of industry and acted accordingly, New York has become the yogurt capital of the nation and reclaimed its status as the number three producer of milk nationwide. New York has also experienced a 72 percent increase in farm-based beverage licenses since 2011, in part as a result of reforms enacted at the first Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit.

Additionally, New York is traditionally the second highest producer of apples in the nation and by many accounts, 2013 was the best year for the state’s apple industry in a generation. New York also ranks first in cabbage production, second in maple production, and third in wine and grape juice production. 

Industry members of the Task Force are as follows:
          Brian Reeves, co-owner, Reeves Farms, Baldwinsville, NY
      Jeff Williams, Director of Public Policy, New York Farm Bureau
      Jim Bittner, President and General Manager, Singer Farms, Appleton, NY
      Cathy Martin, Co-Owner, Martin Farms, Brockport, NY
      Ken Schmitt, retired vegetable farmer, Melville, NY
      Dave Fisher, Owner, Mapleview Dairy, Madrid, NY
      Tim Stanton, Owner, Stanton’s Feura Farm and Markets, Feura Bush, NY
      Tonya Van Slyke, Executive Director, Northeast Dairy Producers Association

State agencies taking part in the Task Force are as follows:
    New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets 
    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 
    New York State Department of Labor 
    New York State Department of Transportation 
    New York State Public Service Commission
    New York State Department of Health
    New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
    Empire State Development 
    Department of Tax and Finance
    State Liquor Authority

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