Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Some Regulatory Burdens Being Lessened for Farmers in New York

New initiatives were announced Tuesday May 19 to streamline regulatory burdens placed on farmers in New York. 

The first-ever Strategic Interagency Task Force on Lessening Obstacles to Agriculture identified new opportunities for improving the regulations for pesticide registration and certification without compromising current environmental protections. 

Additional regulatory changes for the benefit of New York agriculture as a result of the Task Force will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
The Task Force is comprised of leadership from state government and representatives from the agriculture industry. It met five times during 2014 to develop recommendations to streamline the regulatory process so the state’s agricultural economy to grow. 

During these meetings, farmers identified concerns on a variety of current regulations and posed them to the task force, which responded with the following solutions:
Easier Pesticide Registration Process In response to feedback from farmers, the Department of Environmental Conservation improved its pesticide product registration processes by scheduling pre-application meetings with registrants, reducing potential delays. It has also improved notification of new pesticide registrations to applicators and distributors.
Faster Recertification Process for Pesticide Applicators Farmers using pesticides are required to be certified as private pesticide applicators and take either continuing education courses or a recertification exam every five years to remain current. The Department of Environmental Conservation now tracks applicator certification status in a new database, which improves the renewal notice process. Later phases will allow farmers to view and update their own information online.
Simplify Categories for Pesticide Applicators New York State has seven private pesticide certifications. To make it easier for farmers to diversify the commodities they grow, the Department of Environmental Conservation now allows an applicant to request to switch their category, in most cases, and will propose consolidating the categories to simplify certification requirements.
"Based on these recommendations, the Department of Environmental Conservation has identified actions that will reduce the regulatory burdens on farmers and help them use approved products without weakening environmental protections," said state DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens.

Industry members of the Task Force are as follows:
· Jeff Williams, Director of Public Policy, New York Farm Bureau
· Jim Bittner, President and General Manager, Singer Farms, Appleton, NY
· Ken Schmitt, retired vegetable farmer, Melville, NY
· Brian Reeves, co-owner, Reeves Farms, Baldwinsville, NY
· Dave Fisher, Owner, Mapleview Dairy, Madrid, NY
· Tim Stanton, Owner, Stantons Feura Farm and Markets, Feura Bush, NY
· Tonya Van Slyke, Executive Director, Northeast Dairy Producers Association
· Karin Bump, Professor, Equine Studies Business & Management Program, Cazenovia College
· Jeff Fetter, President of Scolaro, Fetter, Grizanti, McGough & King, P.C

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
· New York State Department of Tax and Finance
· State Liquor Authority

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