ALBANY — The Senate passed State Senator Jen Metzger’s bill to aid dairy farmers in complying with environmental regulations to address water that can collect in waste tires used by farmers use to hold down tarps over silage and feed, which the DEC has determined creates a risk of mosquito and other vector breeding grounds. On a single farm, the waste tires that are being reused for this purpose can number in the tens of thousands.
The DEC regulations require new handling of waste tires, including cutting them in half, drilling holes in them, or disposing of them and finding new methods of covering silage–all of which can be costly. Metzger’s bill, which is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Lupardo, instructs the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets and the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation to develop a plan to remove used tires from farms at no cost to the farmers.
“The cost of meeting the new requirements is a serious burden on an industry that already is in crisis due to low milk prices,” said State Senator Jen Metzger. “We are losing our family-owned dairy farms at an alarming rate, particularly our smaller dairies. This law will alleviate the cost burden of this regulation and help farmers to comply.”
Orange County has been funding a county-wide program to help farmers with waste tire remediation. Metzger’s bill will expand the program across the state and offer funding.
“In addition to our conservation mission, Orange County Soil and Water has a strong focus on sustainable farming including both the Black Dirt and dairy farming,” explained Kevin Sumner, Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District Manager. “While we have already been assisting Orange County dairy farmers in dealing with removal of tires for regulatory, environmental and health reasons, we are very pleased to have Senator Metzger’s leadership to develop this remediation program statewide and ensure that there is regulatory consistency and financial assistance for implementation.”
“Senator Metzger understands that farmers need some help in order to adhere to these new regulations,” said Hamden Supervisor Wayne Marshfield, who grew up on a dairy farm. “We greatly appreciate that she understands and is responsive to the needs of New York’s dairy farming community and supports the important role that these farms play in the state’s agricultural economy.”
Jen Metzger represents the 42nd Senate District, which includes all of Sullivan County and parts of Delaware, Orange, and Ulster Counties. Senator Metzger serves as Chair of the Agriculture Committee and sits on the Environmental Conservation, Education, Health, Energy and Telecommunications, Local Government, Women’s Issues, Domestic Animal Welfare, and Legislative Commission on Rural Resources Committees.
–The Office of State Senator Jen Metzger
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