Albion FFA joins Farm Bureau members in Albany to meet with state legislators
Press Release, Orleans County Farm Bureau
ALBANY – Representatives from the Orleans County Farm Bureau spent two days in Albany visiting with lawmakers on March 5-6 to highlight the organization’s state public policy priorities for the year.
The Orleans County farm Bureau also sponsored five students from the Albion FFA to attend. They kicked things off with the popular Taste of New York Reception for state lawmakers, commissioners and staff. Following the evening event, members participated in the annual Lobby Day on Tuesday, March 6, where they met with both their local state senators and Assembly members as well as New York City lawmakers that the Orleans County Farm Bureau adopted.
Orleans County Farm Bureau advocated for a number of priorities this year. The organization supports doubling of the minimum wage tax credit from $30 million to $60 million. The minimum wage tax credit, while only covering a fraction of the mandated increased labor costs, would be especially important in light of the down farm economy.
Farmers also advocated for important budget funding for a myriad of agricultural research, promotion and marketing programs. They also asked for funding to support Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences capital and faculty seed funds to maintain facilities and keep and attract much needed faculty and research. Farm Bureau also supports increasing the state’s lunch reimbursement rate for school districts that purchase 30 percent of New York grown, produced and processed food. In addition, Farm Bureau is supporting the Environmental Protection Fund program that provide cost sharing for critical water quality and farmland protection projects.
Finally, New York Farm Bureau’s priorities include allowing for the registration of UTV’s for legal travel on roads from farm to field, opposing unworkable farm labor mandates and supporting the removal of an acreage requirement for farms in the agricultural assessment program as long as they meet income eligibility requirements.
These priorities are based on member-approved public policies that originate every year at the county Farm Bureau level and are passed by the full delegate body at New York Farm Bureau’s State Annual Meeting in December.
In addition to advocating for priorities with lawmakers, Orleans County Farm Bureau members also participated in a special panel discussion with the Commissioners from the Departments of Agriculture and Markets and Labor as well as the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Chief of Staff. Members were able to ask questions about a number of issues facing the state’s family farms.
Orleans County Farm Bureau members took time away from their farms to travel to the State Capitol to visit with their lawmakers about many important issues facing agriculture. It is imperative for famers to share their stories with every level of government. The better our representatives understand the impact of their decisions on agriculture, the better it will be for local farmers and our rural communities.