From New York Farm Bureau:
New York Farm Bureau said the Senate
and Assembly, especially the Agriculture Committee Chairs, Sen.
Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Bill Magee, have made the state’s family
farms a priority in their respective budgets.
Many of the funding lines
have been restored to last year’s levels, which will make a difference
in the support and promotion of the state’s diverse agricultural
commodities. This includes funding multiple research projects that the
agricultural community depends on to confront growing challenges that
exist on farms.
The New York State Senate also stepped up to the plate to fund many
of the priorities of New York Farm Bureau including a refundable
investment tax credit to assist farms looking to reinvest in this down
The Senate majority is also supportive of doubling the
agricultural minimum wage tax credit which will help farms better manage
labor costs while attempting to remain competitive with farms in other
states that have significantly lower wage rates.
The Farm to Food Bank Bill also received budgetary support for the
first time in both chambers’ budgets.
This is a big boost to the bill
that has seen bi-partisan support the past two years only to have the governor veto the bill, in part, because it was passed outside of the
Farm Bureau believes there is no excuse for the governor to pull out his veto
stamp again, and we encourage him to negotiate funding in the final
budget to support the tax credit, as he promised. It will allow farmers
to donate even more fresh food to their regional food banks and
The support of the “Farm to Food Bank Bill” comes on the heels of New
York state farmers donating more than 13.2 million pounds of food in
2016. The number is the second highest for any state in the country.
The total was announced last month at the American Farm Bureau
Federation’s Fusion Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.
New York Farm Bureau participates in
Feeding America’s Harvest for All Program. This record number for New
York highlights the generosity of farmers in this state, and food
donations will likely increase with the passage and signing of the “Farm
to Food Bank Bill.”
The tax credit on 25 percent of the wholesale value of
the food, up to $5,000 annually, would help offset a portion of the
costs of labor, packaging and transportation required to get more food
from the fields to those in need.
“As the April 1
budget deadline approaches, we are hopeful these items will remain in
New York State’s final fiscal plan. The past year has been a difficult
one for the state’s farmers," said Farm Bureau President David Fisher.
"From higher labor costs to lower commodity
prices, coupled with extreme weather woes, the additional support could
not come at a more necessary time for the hard working farm families of
New York,” Fisher said.