March 9, 2013

Farm briefs: March 10, 2013

New York Farm Bureau members lobby Legislature

ALBANY — Hundreds of farmers have taken the rare day off to participate in New York Farm Bureau’s annual lobby day at the Capitol in Albany advocating for support of policies that will benefit all of New York’s farms. From capping skyrocketing agricultural land assessments at 2 percent to raising the threshold for the estate tax to match the federal $5 million mark for agriculture, these farm-friendly bills will help keep the land in farming for the next generation.

Agriculture generates more than 200,000 jobs on the farm and off in New York State. Studies have shown that if you have healthy farms, you have a healthy economy. In these days of high costs of farm production and the high land-tax burden in New York, it is imperative state lawmakers pass legislation that supports local family farms.

“Our advocacy agenda is at the root of what we do at New York Farm Bureau. Our farmer members from every region of the state adopted the policies we are promoting here today in the halls of the State Capitol, and we take great pride on being a strong voice for all of agriculture,” said Dean Norton, NYFB president.

New York Farm Bureau is working with both sides of the aisle to advance their causes and has advocates in the chairs of both agriculture committees, Sen. Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Bill Magee. In partnership with them and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, they are confident New York will do what is right for its farmers and the people who depend on having healthy, local food to feed their families.

Additional priorities include the establishment of tax-deferred Farm Savings Accounts to use as a risk-management tool to combat severe weather impacts or extreme price downturns. Farmers will also be opposing a hike in the minimum wage, as well as advocating for a new training wage for workers 18 and younger who hold seasonal employment during the summer months. Plus, they are supporting a state tax credit for donations of locally grown food by farmers to food banks. New York farmers last year donated more than 8 million pounds of food to New York food banks.

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