Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recently announced budget proposal contains several items of interest to North Country farmers, according to state Sen. Patty Ritchie.
The following programs have been included in the agricultural portion of the governor’s spending plan:
• Pro Dairy: $822,000
• FreshConnect Farmers Market Program: $450,000
• Farm Viability Institute: $400,000
• Farm Family Assistance: $384,000
• New York Wine and Grape Foundation: $713,000
• Apple Growers Association: $206,000
• Future Farmers of America: $192,000
• Cornell Rabies Program, which also serves Northern New York: $50,000
• Program to increase availability for locally grown hops to support growing craft brew industry: $40,000
In addition, the governor also announced funding for several proposals to market New York products, including his “Taste-NY” initiative, which will create duty-free “Taste-NY” stores across the state, offering New York food and drink.
Ritchie, Senate Agriculture Committee chair who represents the 48th district that includes the western half of St. Lawrence County, expressed support for the agricultural measures listed in Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal.
“I am pleased that Governor Cuomo is recognizing the important—and critical—role agriculture plays. His funding of agriculture in the executive budget proposal sends a message that this industry is a key part of our efforts to revitalize New York State’s economy,” she said.
“Here in New York State our hardworking farmers are the backbone of our workforce and agriculture is the cornerstone of our economy,” said Ritchie.