News from state Sen. Patricia Ritchie:
The state Senate has approved a bill that would provide grants and low interest loans to dairy farms that make energy efficient improvements.
The measure, Senate bill 2984, is part of Sen. Patricia Ritchie’s “Grown in New York” plan, a multi-part initiative designed to help meet consumers’ demands for locally-grown food, support local farmers in their efforts to provide quality, fresh food, and strengthen rural communities.
“Controlling energy costs on the farm is one of the keys to being successful in the agriculture industry, especially for dairy farmers,” said Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, who chairs the Senate’s Agriculture Committee.
Under the measure, dairy farmers will be able to apply for grants or loans of up to $100,000 for cost effective investments that reduce energy use including the installation of solar technology and construction of new digesters.
According to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, milk is New York’s leading agricultural product, with sales accounting for one-half of total agriculture receipts. In 2012, production was 13.2 billion pounds with a preliminary value of $2.56 billion.
The measure was sent to the Assembly, where its sponsored by Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair William Magee, D-Nelson.