State Senate and Assembly negotiators agree on $3.5 million more than Cuomo's plan for ag research, education, assistance
The state Senate and Assembly have agreed on spending for farm research, education and assistance programs aimed at helping family farmers and strengthening the state’s farm economy.
The joint Senate/Assembly budget subcommittee, approved a total of $17.329 million to support local farm programs, including funds for programs that help make farming more profitable and successful.That amount is up slightly from a preliminary agreement announced one week ago, and $3.5 million more than proposed by the Governor in his budget plan last month.
State Senate Agriculture Committee Chair and North Country Sen. Patty Ritchie
said the plan particularly benefits programs that impact farmers in Central and Northern New York. The governor’s budget had cut agricultural funding, eliminating funding for almost two dozen local programs, and replacing them with a single competitive grant program that totaled just $1.2 million, according to the Republican senator, whose district includes the western portion of St. Lawrence County.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to work together on a bipartisan basis to insure that our farmers and New York's agribusiness community is treated fairly as we try to jump start the upstate economy," Ritchie said.
Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau, said he was pleased with the result.
“While farmers, by nature, are used to doing more with less, there are certain farm programs that we depend upon that were facing extinction,” Norton said.
The joint committee agreed to restore:
· $822,000 for Pro Dairy, which was scheduled to end on March 31.
· $1,221,000 for Farm Viability Institute
· $300,000 for North Country Agriculture
· $100,000 for Maple Producers
· $500,000 for Integrated Pest Management
· $150,000 for Cornell Rabies Program
· $100,000 for Tractor Rollover Program
· $80,000 for Ag in the Classroom
· $206,000 for the Apple Association
· $66,000 for Association of Ag Teachers
· $384,000 for Farm Family Assistance (Farm Net)
· $150,000 for the Center for Dairy Excellence
· $192,000 for Future Farmers of America
· $62,000 for Golden Nematode Program
· $128,000 for NYS Seed Lab
· $713,000 for Wine and Grape Foundation
· $340,000 for Local Fair Promotion
· $100,000 for Long Island rabies
The state Legislature and the governor face a statutory April 1 deadline for completion of the state budget.