FY 2018-19 New York State Budget Priorities

The following is a summary of NEAFA’s NYS budget priorities for the 20128-19 fiscal year that begins April 1, 2018.  Each year the Alliance joins with a coalition of agricultural advocates to lobby for funding essential to keep the following programs serving the agriculture industry.  We are appreciative of the leadership and support of Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders, including Senator Ritchie and Assemblyman Magee, chairs of the Senate and Assembly Agriculture Committees

  • PRO-DAIRY: Budget Appropriation: $1,201,000 allocated through the Department of Agriculture and Markets

    For 30 years this program has worked with dairy farmers to address agronomic, economic and environmental challenges to enhance the overall sustainability of New York’s dairy industry.
     
  • NY Farm Viability Institute: Budget Appropriation: $1,900,000
    *  Dairy Profit Teams: $220,000

    This farmer driven program has returned over seven dollars to the State’s economy for every dollar invested.  Farm profitability has been enhanced as result of this program. Ten-year summary: Total investment $15.4 million; total return: $108.8 million.  Dairy Profit Teams provide comprehensive coordinated management guidance and have proven to be excellent resources to dairy farmers
     
  • NY FarmNet: Budget Appropriation: $1,272,000
    *  $872,000 Core Program, through Dept. of Agriculture and Markets
    *  $400,000 Mental Health Initiative, through Office of Mental Health

    A network of farm family and financial consultants to help farm businesses thrive. Last year FarmNet worked with over 700 farmers on issues ranging from economic to mental health.  Economic stress in the dairy industry is quite high due to continued low milk prices. 
     
  • Farm Labor Specialist: Budget Appropriation: $200,000

    A farm business human resources extension specialist has been hired to work with farm managers.  This position will focus on training for labor compliance and improving employer/ employee relations.  Funding includes salary, benefits, and necessary support.
     
  • Agricultural Education and Outreach Programs
    *  FFA: $842,000
    *  Agriculture in the Classroom: $380,000


    These programs create a pipeline for the next generation of farmers, agribusinesses food companies and industry leaders.  Much industry support is also contributed to advancing these programs.
     
  • Integrated Pest Management: Budget Appropriation: $1 million

    Reducing ricks in agriculture, protecting the environment and protecting New Yorkers are part of the mission of the IPM Program.
     
  • Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution Control: Budget Appropriation: $7 million

    Essential funding for assisting New York’s animal agriculture industry facing costly water quality regulations.  Farmers are stewards of soil and water resources yet public driven expectations can be more that what a farm business can reasonably afford. 

Background: The budget items listed above represent core programs that sustain and grow New York’s agricultural industry.  The Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance recognizes that, absent these programs, New York farmers would not be able to address many of the economic and environmental challenges impacting agriculture every day.  Therefore, we stand in coalition with the production sector to advocate for sufficient funding of these important programs.  


Food Safety Modernization Act

The Alliance supports technical assistance to assure proper implementation of federal Food Safety Modernization Act provisions.

Background: The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was enacted by Congress in 2011 and imposes significant responsibilities upon farmers and feed manufacturers to assure a safe food supply for all consumers.  Regulatory responsibility for the enforcement of FSMA is placed on the Department of Agriculture and Markets. New mandates on farmers and feed manufacturers will be costly and complicated.

Therefore, the Alliance supports the appropriation of additional resources, to the Department of Agriculture and Markets, for providing technical assistance to the farming and feed industry.

Agribusiness and Feed Alliance Policy: The Alliance supports development of technical assistance within state and federal governments, land grant universities, private service providers and the cooperative extension systems, to assist businesses with compliance with Food Safety Modernization Act.

For more information:
Rick Zimmerman, Executive Director
194 Washington Ave. Suite 610
Albany, NY 12210
518 426 0214
rzimmerman@zga-llc.com



State Policy Position Statement

The Alliance recognizes the existence of appropriate voluntary consumer labeling programs for food and does not support state level food labeling to identify specific production practices.


State Policy Background

Priorities for the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance include supporting farmers use of science-based practices and crop production technology such as GMOs, for the production of quality food. The Alliance identifies that a well-structured voluntary food labeling program exists through the USDA organic program and does not support increased state level regulatory oversight of food labeling to identify specific production practices.

The preponderance of the peer-reviewed scientific literature strongly supports the safety and environmental benefits of genetically modified foods. The nutritional value of genetically modified foods does not differ from conventional foods and we will need these biotechnologies to feed a growing world population.

Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence of the safety of genetically modified foods, the Alliance does acknowledge the right of consumers to know the source of ingredients in the foods they choose to purchase. If adopted federally, the designation on food labels of ingredients as genetically modified should be confined to the ingredients section of the label in the same font size and color as the rest of the ingredients listed. Any statements of GMO ingredients receiving greater prominence on the label would be viewed by the Alliance as misbranding.


Clean Water

The Vermont General Assembly passed a law to protect clean water in 2015. In passing the Vermont Clean Water Act, Vermont's leadership recognized the need for a long-term, stable source of state funding and set the state on a course to establish a new funding program.

Vermonters were expecting a clear funding proposal for lake clean up to be issued in late 2017, instead, the Scott administration is suggesting yet another study.

Businesses, landowners, farmers and government officials at the federal, state and local level need to know that funding will be available to support their own planning efforts and long-term investments.

If we are to move to a more strategic use of our limited public and private funds, the state of Vermont must play a leadership role in building the partnerships necessary to address the complex challenge of restoring our state's waters. The state cannot play that role without a significant and stable source of state funds.