From New York Farm Bureau:
New York Farm Bureau leaders met with members of New York’s
congressional delegation this week in Washington, DC to discuss the
organization’s member-approved national public policy priorities for 2016.
Following the visits, New York
Farm Bureau President Dean Norton and Elizabeth Wolters, NYFB’s
associate director of national affairs, held a press conference call
with reporters this morning to publicly unveil the priorities.
New York’s visit was timely with next week’s expected markup of
Sen. Pat Robert’s bill that would establish national standards for
the labeling of products that contain genetically modified organisms
GMO labeling is an important issue in New York state as a
proposed bill looks to create a statewide label for ingredients created
with the assistance of biotechnology. This disregards the clear
scientific evidence that shows the food is just as safe and nutritious
as ingredients bred using more traditional methods.
New York Farm Bureau
opposes a statewide approach because it would create a patchwork of
labeling laws that would prove costly for New York farmers and consumers
alike. Because of the concern, New York Farm Bureau is supportive of Sen. Robert’s bill.
The chairman’s proposal is centered on a strong foundation to protect
interstate commerce and prevent state-by-state labeling laws. It will
direct USDA to initiate formal rulemaking to set definitions and
standards for the labeling of products that may contain ingredients
derived from agricultural biotechnology. The bill also contains an
educational component to inform consumers about the safety of GMOs.
New York Farm Bureau has long been in opposition to proposed changes
to the Clean Water Act that members believe broaden the
jurisdiction from navigable waters to also including dry land.
“Waters of the U.S.” rule will vastly increase the scope of the Clean Water Act and
put an undue burden and more regulatory control on farmers and their
land with no benefit to the environment.
Both houses of Congress voted in a bipartisan fashion to repeal the
rule. Unfortunately, the President vetoed the measure.
mean this issue is settled. The Sixth Circuit Court has issued a stay
based on legal concerns. While it works its way through the legal
system, New York Farm Bureau will continue to work with Congress to find
a solution on the matter along with advocating for more comprehensive
New York Farm Bureau also was successful this year at the American
Farm Bureau Federation national meeting in Orlando, FL to pass a
resolution in the national policy book related to the Natural Resources
New York Farm Bureau supports allowing third
party accredited individuals as well as Natural Resources Conservation Service staff to complete wetland
determinations. This will help to reduce the amount of time farmers have
to wait to have a determination completed. Currently, the delays of up
to a year hinder what farmers can do with their land.
New York Farm Bureau has long been saying we need a stable
workforce on our farms or else the rural economy and our local food
supply will ultimately suffer.
Despite the political climate in
Washington and the current presidential campaign, immigration reform
remains a top priority for New York Farm Bureau. It is time to end the
immigration stalemate and pass reform legislation that addresses short
and long-term farm labor needs.
Because of the unlikelihood of that happening in 2016, New York Farm
Bureau is changing its focus this year to look for reforming the H2A
seasonal guest worker program. This includes modernizing the application
process to use electronic submissions as opposed to the current paper
applications that must be mailed to the U.S. Department of Labor.
addition, New York Farm Bureau is looking for opportunities to open up
the H2A program to dairy farmers who need help year round.
Until this is completed, New York Farm Bureau will work with Congress
to minimize negative impacts of farm labor shortages and will oppose a
mandatory E-Verify program unless and until a new comprehensive
agricultural guest-worker program is in place to provide farmers with
FOOD SAFETY RULES
Food safety is another top priority for New York Farm Bureau. The FDA is in the process of implementing new food safety
rules as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act and New York Farm Bureau is monitoring the implementation, particularly
those dealing with produce and animal feed, and will be working with
the FDA to balance the compliance burden with an actual public health
Federal money should also be used to provide adequate training of
inspectors and provide for inspections for foreign farms. The United
States must ensure foreign farms and the goods that they produce are
held to the same standards so as not to make domestic farms
non-competitive and offshore our food production.
If we are to be able
to compete on the world market place, our farmers’ hands cannot be tied
by our own rules and food should be safe regardless of where it comes
With a growing export market for a number of things that we produce
in New York, New York Farm Bureau will continue to support the next
generation of trade negotiations that remove unscientific barriers and
high tariffs and provide new opportunities for our farms.
the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and
Investment Partnership agreement with the European Union.
The Pacific agreement is expected to increase cash receipts and net
exports from New York by $111.4 million and $66.2 million per year,
respectively. It is estimated the increased marketing opportunities
for New York’s farmers and ranchers will add more than 500 jobs to the
New York economy.