GENESEO, N.Y. — The Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA) today announced the release of its 2021 legislative priorities. NEDPA, a farmer-led organization representing more than half of the milk produced in the entire state, held its advocacy day today to meet with legislators via Zoom to discuss priorities of New York’s dairy industry.
NEDPA Board Chair John Dickinson said, “The state’s support of New York’s family dairy farms will ensure our ability to continue to provide locally-sourced milk and food to communities across the state. The success and safety of our essential employees, our neighbors, and New York’s natural resources are NEDPA’s top priories, and we look forward to working with our partners in the legislature and the executive chamber to ensure they remain protected for generations to come.”
NEDPA priorities and legislative asks include:
Resources to enhance the work of Cornell PRO-DAIRY.
NEDPA asks the state legislature to provide resources that will:
- Support $1.201 million in core funding for Cornell PRO-Dairy, which is proposed in the Executive Budget and allocated through the State Department of Agriculture & Markets.
- Provide $400,000 to enhance the work of PRO-Dairy’s Nutrient Management and GHG Emissions Reduction Program (formerly known as the SPEAR Program), an initiative aimed at supporting critical nutrient management systems on New York family dairy farms that help protect both surface water and groundwater quality.
Access to a Cornell Farm Labor Specialist for New York’s dairy farms.
NEDPA asks the state legislature to support $200,000 proposed in the Executive Budget that would support access to a Farm Labor Specialist. This appropriation enhances the ability of farm businesses to effectively manage human resources, assure compliance with federal and state laws, and maximize employee respect within the workplace. The program is essential due to the impacts of the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funding for the Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Lab and Quality Milk Production Services.
In order to ensure these Cornell Diagnostic Laboratory Programs can meet the needs of New York’s family dairy farms, NEDPA asks the state legislature to:
- Fully fund the Animal Health Surveillance & Control Program, which received $4.425 million in the Executive Budget and requires an additional $1.005 million; and
- Support the $1.174 million proposal included in the Executive Budget for the Quality Milk Production Program.
Additionally, NEDPA asks that funding be restored to SUNY and Cornell Cooperative Extension, as these institutions provide agricultural education opportunities for future generations as well as producers throughout New York State.
Support for dairy farm environmental protection efforts, including three programs included in the Executive Budget.
- $18 million for Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution Control: Essential for assisting dairy farms facing costly DEC and EPA water quality regulations. Farmers are stewards of soil and water resources, yet comprehensive nutrient management plans can require more resources than what a farm business can reasonably afford.
- $11.5 million for Soil & Water Conservation Districts: These are the professionals working with dairy farms to implement water quality practices, deliver protection projects, and provide information and education about environmental management.
- $1 million for Integrated Pest Management: This nationally recognized program provides research and education necessary to develop and employ a “toolbox” of options that provide effective control pest control in dairy barns, crop fields, orchards, vineyards, green houses, farmsteads, golf courses and gardens. The program has been in place for over 31 years, working to reduce pest threats, protect the environment and safeguard New Yorkers.
Endorsement of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
NEDPA endorses the establishment of a low carbon fuel standard in New York State that will create market incentives for low carbon fuels, including renewable natural gas. This would provide an opportunity for the dairy industry to contribute to New York’s renewable fuels and carbon reduction goals using anaerobic digesters to harvest clean RNG. Low carbon fuel standard as an alternative enterprise for dairy farmers would establish New York’s dairy industry as a leader in sustainability and environmental protection.
Support of expanded access to Broadband.
Internet services in New York’s rural communities. Our farmers, farm employees, and their families are an integral part of the state’s rural landscape. Enhanced rural broadband would allow them to better participate in online educational opportunities and meetings, utilize technology for their businesses, and the opportunity for their children to successfully learn from home in this virtual era.
Funding for the following initiatives to allow the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) to continue their essential efforts promoting the health and safety of farms in the Northeast.
- $200,000 for on-farm, bilingual safety training services, including respiratory fit-testing to assist farms with Worker Protection Standard (WPS) compliance. Traditionally, funding came from DOH for Occupational Health and DOL Hazard Abatement support. 2020 left NYCAMH loosing 2/3 of their funding resulting in loss of on-farm safety programs. There are no applications being accepted for 2021. Farms with 10 or more employees are required to offer safety training under the NY OSHA Dairy Local Emphasis Program.
- $250,000 for the NY State ROPS Retrofit Program.
- $250,000 for the John May Farm Safety Fund safety grants program from NYS Agriculture and Markets.
Click here for additional background on the need to support on-farm safety training services, technical assistance, and health screening services.
Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA) is an organization of dairy producers and industry partners committed to an economically viable, consumer-conscious dairy industry dedicated to the care and well-being of our communities, environment, employees, and cows. Learn more at www.nedpa.org.
–Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA)
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