ALBANY — Record levels of funding for agriculture are included in the New York State Budget, finalized by the Legislature on Wednesday. The two Agriculture Chairs in the State Legislature, Senator Michelle Hinchey and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo worked to successfully secure $8 million over the Executive’s original proposal for a total appropriation of over $35 million. This funding will support important programs that provide New York farmers with research, marketing, financial, and mental health assistance.
Key restorations secured by Hinchey and Lupardo include over $9.2 million in funding for the Agri-Business Child Development program (ABCD), which provides quality child care and social services to farmworker families across the state; over $7 million for the Cornell Diagnostics Lab for programs, a key resource in keeping our livestock and food supply safe and more than $1 million in funding for NY FarmNet, a Cornell-run program that plays a critical role in providing mental health support and financial counseling to farmers and farming families.
In addition to budget restorations, Hinchey and Lupardo secured new funding for the Cornell Equitable Farm Futures Initiative ($400,000) to improve equity in education and training opportunities for new and beginning farmers with an important emphasis on supporting BIPOC farmers and training Hispanic and Latinx farm employees for management opportunities in agriculture. New funding is also included for Hops Research, Extension, and Marketing ($350,000) to boost support for New York’s craft beverage industry.
“Our farmers are the cornerstone of our state’s economy, the stewards of our natural resources, and the people responsible for the food on our tables. Working with Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, we were able to secure record funding through this year’s state budget for the vital programs and services our farmers need to keep New York’s leading industry at the forefront,” said Senate Agriculture Chair Michelle Hinchey. “This state budget is a bold reflection of our commitment to increasing farm revenues, helping farmers preserve agricultural lands, bringing a new and diverse generation of New York farmers into the industry, and driving investment toward critical research and development initiatives. As Senate Agriculture Chair, it is my great honor to champion such a broad set of priorities on behalf of our farming community and ensure that the policies and investments of our State Legislature reflect their unique needs. I look forward to our continued work to support a resilient farming future for New York.”
Assembly Agriculture Chair Donna Lupardo said, “I was very pleased to partner with Senator Hinchey on a strong budget for New York agriculture. A sustainable and productive food economy must support the programs and services our farmers, processors, researchers and educators rely on. In addition, this budget recognizes the need for a long range plan that supports the preservation of productive farmland for the next generation, along with a conscious effort to foster diversity in our farm community. Further, supports for programs like FarmNet were prioritized because of their role in pandemic recovery, along with the restoration of funds for vital programs that had been scaled back over the years.”
Senator Hinchey and Assemblywoman Lupardo also worked to ensure that the State Budget fully funds programs in the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) that are important to New York farmers and agricultural sustainability, including $18 million for farmland protection and $18 million for agricultural non-point source abatement and control projects that support efforts to address algal blooms and integrated pest management.
Other highlights of the 2021-22 State Budget include:
New funding of $460,000 to the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University for the Forensic Pathology Program
$1.85 million for the New York Farm Viability Institute
$500,000 to American Farmland Trust for the Farmland for a New Generation Regional Navigators and Resource Center
–The Office of New York State Senator Michelle Hinchey
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