May 13, 2013

Congressman forms new ag committee


PLATTSBURGH — North Country Congressman Bill Owens has put together an Agricultural Advisory Committee for New York’s 21st Congressional District.  

The committee features members of the farm community from across the district and is designed to help advise Owens (D-Plattsburgh) on the needs of New York farmers and provide a local perspective on farm policy for his work in Washington.

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“Local input is invaluable to my ability to represent the district,” Owens said in a news release.

“This is another way to stay in touch with concerns on the ground and ensure the needs of a large and diverse farm district are being addressed.

“I appreciate the willingness of New York farm leaders to serve on my advisory committee and look forward to discussing agricultural issues with them in the near future.”

The district includes 11 counties and stretches from Lake Ontario in the west to Lake Champlain in the east.


Clinton County Legislator Sam Dyer (D-Area 3, Beekmantown) a dairy farmer, will serve on Owens’s committee.

“We are basically going to be his eyes and ears on the ground so we can provide him with the best input on agriculture issues in the district,” Dyer told the Press-Republican.

“We will let him know how issues will impact us.”

Dyer said agriculture is critical to the economy of the district.

“Agriculture is huge up here. With all the cows, chickens, apples, maple and everything else, that’s a big part of our area.

“Bill (Owens) has done a pretty good job of keeping informed on issues, and I think this (new committee) will be great.”


Owens will hold an initial meeting via conference call with the committee this week, when he will give them an update on the Farm Bill’s progress in Washington, D.C., and get their initial input on what they would like to see in the legislation.

Owens, who served on the House Agriculture Committee in the 112th Congress, has been working on several farm-related bills this year, including legislation to reduce trade barriers for apple exports to Canada, to increase access to credit for farmers, to boost the New York maple industry and to improve access to agricultural labor.


The 47-member committee is preliminary, and more members will be added down the road.

Members of the committee from this area are: Sam Dyer, Todd Giroux, Willie Giroux, Craig Giroux, Tony LaPierre, Angela Swan and Dan Tetreault of Clinton County; Shaun Gillilland, Will Gunnison, Adam Hainer, Erik Leerkes and Michael McCaliffe of Essex County; and Ralph Child and Kirby Selkirk of Franklin County.

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