Farm Bureau releases legislative priorities [The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y.] – InsuranceNewsNet

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Hickling said costs to farmers have increased due to inflation, the state’s mandated increase in the minimum wage to $14.20 upstate and the reduction of the overtime threshold. “A lot of farmers can’t set their prices to adjust for these increases in costs,” he said. “On top of that are all the regulations the state bombards on us. The market is tough.”

Hickling said many of the other priorities the state Farm Bureau outlined have been priorities for farmers for several years.

Other priorities outlined by NYFB President David Fisher and Public Policy Director Jeff Williams include more funding in the state budget for several programs, and the duo outlined some concerns with some proposed legislation, the release said.

The bureau would like to see important animal health, promotion, and research programs along with full funding for the Environmental Protection Fund maintained in the governor’s spending plan, the release said. The EPF is responsible for helping farms implement best management practices that include soil health and nutrient management programs that protect our land and waterways. It also includes efforts to help farms meet the state’s climate goals.

However, the bureau would like to see the state “Support the development of solar energy that balances private property rights and the current and future land needs of agriculture in the state.,” the release said. “Whenever possible, prime soils and actively farmed lands should be avoided in favor of previously disturbed or fallow lands and rooftop development for distributed generation.”

NYFB is also hopeful the governor’s proposal for a refundable investment tax credit is included in the final budget. That will incentivize investment, especially coming off of challenging years of low commodity prices and then the pandemic, the release said.

The Nourish New York program should also be funded in the budget, the bureau’s release said, as it has benefited both farms and people in need. It redirects fresh, locally grown food into regional food banks and emergency food pantries while also helping farms offset the costs to produce, harvest, package and transport the food.

The bureau said it is concerned about the Extended Producer Responsibility legislation. “This bill looks to pass the cost and responsibility of recycling packaging away from the consumer and to the source of the product, in this case, farms and food processors who need things like milk containers, wine bottles and food packaging to sell what they produce,” the release said. “This puts an extraordinary financial burden on to the state’s farms and businesses. This would eventually increase the cost of doing business and further drive-up consumer prices.”

The bureau is in favor of legislation allowing for direct-to-consumer shipping for all New York produced farm beverages, including beer, cider and distillates, the release said.

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at [email protected] or 607-441-7221.

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