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  • Brian R. Monahan

New York State Senate passes package of agriculture legislation

Yesterday, the New York State Senate passed a package of bipartisan bills designed to support New York’s agricultural sector.

A Suffolk County Vineyard. Photo courtesy of the Long Island Farm Bureau.

Uncoincidentally, it was also a day of agricultural activism in Albany, where numerous representatives from various agribusinesses would be in the Capitol.  


Before voting, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Farmers have long been the backbone of America, consistently playing a vital role in New York State. I take pride in the work of my conference and their efforts to introduce and pass this legislation, which reaffirms our unwavering commitment to those who cultivate our food.”

If passing the Assembly and signed into the law, the package of 10 bills would:

·         expand the definition of agricultural land use;

·         establish a farming hotline to connect farmers to resources;

·         alter the state’s procurement goals to incentivize the purchase of locally-grown produce;

·         create the Farm Ownership Succession Planning Program;

·         creates the Office of Urban Agriculture;

·         Add agricultural representation on the State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council;

·         Expand support for regional farmers’ markets;

·         create a carbon tax credit for farmers.

 “All of the pieces of legislation will have a [positive] impact one way or another,” said Robert Carpenter of the Long Island Farm Bureau, noting that “Suffolk County agriculture is very diverse.”

Suffolk County agriculture is diverse both in terms of the types of farming and the sizes of the farms themselves. And while number-wise, the Long Island region still ranks near the top of the state in terms of sales and volume, it still comes with its challenges.

Photo courtesy of the Long Island Farm Bureau.

Noting these challenges, Carpenter stated, “It is becoming more and more difficult for farmers to continue to compete due to increased regulations and one of the highest minimum wages in the nation.”

Certain commodity growers also face steep competition from other regions of the United States.

“Agriculture is an industry with the most potential to do the most good – fight hunger, affect regional resilience in the face of the Climate Crisis, expand diversity and equity across an entire workforce sector and galvanize a new generation of farmers to take the helm,” said chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Michelle Hinchey.


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