County-Lead Task Force Promotes Better Farm Policies in New York

County-Lead Task Force Promotes Better Farm Policies in New York
Legislator Herz represents Broome County 

NYSAC’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future of Farming in New York State, made up of dozens of county leaders who are also farmers or who work in the farming industry, met in Albany on Monday, March 15th to address the challenges facing the New York farmer. 9th District Broome County Legislator Steve Herz (D- Windsor) is the only member of the Task Force from Broome County and represents eastern Broome County on the legislature.
 
“Advocacy from NYSAC for Agriculture may very well be crucial. For many reasons, government and agriculture are mutually interdependent. This Task Force will establish communication that will be instrumental in strengthening a real and meaningful partnership between government and agriculture,” said Herz.
 
The Task Force convened for a day-long event on the 15th to define the scope of its work and develop a series of proposals to assist the farm industry. The Task Force also received testimony from the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York Farm Bureau and Farm Credit East. As a starting point, the Task Force has recommended that NYSAC advocate for the following:
  • Restoring funding for the New York Farm Viability Institute and the New York Center for Diary Excellence.
  • Increasing funding for buy local program.
  • Encouraging the USDA to establish a national floor for Class I milk.
The meeting coincided with the No Farms, No Food rally held at the State Capitol. The rally was held to raise greater awareness of and promote support for a stronger farm and food economy, healthy environment, and to promote nutritious New York State products.
 
“The biggest challenge for the farm community today is the basic uncertainty about the future—our competitiveness in the global economy, and our ability to have a supportive governmental structure at all levels. The New York Farm Bureau is very pleased with NYSAC’s re-emphasis on the importance of the farm community to all in New York. Our ability to keep local farms producing local food for local people depends on the actions we take today as a state,” said Julie Suarez, the director of public policy for New York Farm Bureau.
 
The Task Force will meet again this summer and work on a series of recommendations it will present to the NYSAC membership at its Fall Seminar in Erie County.
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03/16/2010 - 2:34pm