ALBANY — State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced four additional listening sessions on the 2018 Farm Bill Listening Tour will take place in the Hudson Valley, Finger Lakes, New York City and Western New York regions. The Farm Bill Listening Tour provides an opportunity to engage with and hear from constituents about the importance of the 2018 Farm Bill to New York State. It is hosted jointly by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).
The tour includes the following stops:
Hudson Valley, October 27, 1 p.m.
Gilman Center for International Education
SUNY Orange Middletown Campus
Parking available in Lot 5 at South and Bennett streets and in the Middletown Campus Parking Garage—accessible from East Conkling Avenue
Finger Lakes, October 31, 1 p.m.
Rohrbach Brewing Company
New York City, November 3, 1 p.m.
Western NY, November 9, 1 p.m.
Alfred State College
Student Leadership Center
Alfred, NY 14802
Parking available in Lot #35
The State kicked off the listening tour in Watertown on October 2. A listening session is also planned for Morrisville on October 23 at 1 p.m. and interested parties can RSVP here. Written comments can be submitted to FarmBill@agriculture.ny.gov.
Feedback gathered during the tour will be provided to Governor Cuomo to help develop New York’s Farm Bill priorities for critical funding and policy changes in the areas of agriculture, nutrition, and the environment.
The Farm Bill is an omnibus, multi-year law that governs an array of agricultural and food programs. The most recent Farm Bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014, expires at the end of 2018.
With many important programs facing potential cuts once the Farm Bill expires, the listening session will help shape the agricultural policies and programs New York State will support in the 2018 Farm Bill. Key areas impacted by the Farm Bill and to be discussed during the listening sessions include the dairy sector, land conservation, the growth of the industrial hemp industry, state and private forestry programs, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, invasive species, food safety and SNAP, among others.
The nutrition title, which includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), comprises 80 percent of the total amount of funding provided through the Farm Bill, while the remaining 20 percent in funding supports agricultural production and conservation programs.
Nearly 3 million, or 1 in 7, New Yorkers participate in the SNAP program, receiving approximately $4.8 billion in SNAP benefits. Over one million SNAP recipients are children under the age of 18 and nearly 620,000 SNAP recipients are age 60 or older.
Agriculture is a major driver of the New York State economy and about 23 percent of New York State’s land area, or 7 million acres, is farmland. Nearly 36,000 family farms produce some of the world’s best food with the State ranking in the top 10 in 30 different commodities that support its communities. New York is the second largest producer of apples and maple syrup, second in cabbage and snap beans, third in grapes, grape juice and wine. It also ranks third in dairy production, which is the largest segment of the agricultural sector.
New York’s dairy industry generates more than $2.5 billion in farm-gate sales, constituting nearly one-half of the state’s total agricultural receipts. The grape, grape juice and wine industry alone generates more than $5 billion in economic benefits annually to the State of New York.
–NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
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