Farmers from Wayne County recently took time away from their farms to visit with lawmakers in Albany to push for policy initiatives that will create a stronger economic climate for every farmer in the state.
They kicked off their two-day trip with the annual Taste of New York Reception, a popular event attended by decision-makers from across the state. Wayne County Farm Bureau hosted a table featuring local apple products.
“Taste of New York is a great avenue to show our lawmakers the diversity of New York agriculture,” said John Sorbello, New York Farm Bureau state director. “It gives us an opportunity for more informal conversations that help build lasting relations, especially with lawmakers who don’t typically represent farms. It is a great lead into a full day of meetings to advocate for agriculture.”
Sorbello was joined in Albany by Gary Orbaker, Ken Van Fleet, Town of Palmyra Supervisor Ken Miller and Town of Lyons Supervisor Brian Manktelow to represent the public policy priorities of the more than 580 farm families that make up the county Farm Bureau.
Agriculture has been under additional economic pressures over the past two years with low commodity and milk prices and rising labor costs. The meetings with lawmakers focused on policies that support a reinvestment in farms and opening up new markets for locally produced farm products.
State priorities they advocated for included securing a refundable investment tax credit for farmers; doubling the minimum wage tax credit from $30 million to $60 million; funding for critical agricultural research, promotion, farm safety and educational programs, clean water infrastructure and the Environmental Protection Fund; farm labor issues; and pushing for the enactment of the Farm to Food Bank bill.
“Our priorities stem from Farm Bureau’s annual grassroots process that brings farmers together from across the state who offer thoughtful solutions to the many challenges that impact our farms,” Sorbello said.