Sen. Aubertine: bill better targets essential agriculture programs
Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 7:45 am

State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, says a bill passed Monday moves around limited revenue for agriculture programs to better target essential programs while also restoring key funding the governor’s budget would have omitted.

“This budget agreement restores more than $2.5 million in local funding for agriculture and reprioritizes funding to help our state’s number one industry,” said Sen. Aubertine, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“This funding will be used to keep our county fairs strong, provide revenue to continue building the growing wine industry, and hold in place essential statewide programs from Farm Net to Agriculture in the Classroom, and the Farm Viability Institute to the Center for Dairy Excellence. In these difficult times, this funding will help keep these programs operating on behalf of our farmers.”

“The difficulty of the state’s fiscal climate was abundantly clear in this year’s appropriations for agriculture,” said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau. “The final outcome for agricultural funding represented a substantial cut over years past. However, farmers are grateful that we were able to retain several core programs and restore some critical funds for research, education, and promotion. New York Farm Bureau thanks Senator Aubertine, Assemblyman Magee and all of their colleagues who fought hard for agricultural funding, and recognize that this year is indeed a challenging one. We have to continue working collaboratively to articulate a message about the importance of these programs to the safety of our food supply and the ability to produce locally grown products.”

In addition, the budget bills passed on Monday accepts a proposal from the governor to end the state’s role in dog licensing. This move will allow municipalities, which are already required to have a licensing program, to keep all of the revenue from license sales, while requiring these governments to maintain a record.

The 2010-11 budget restores a 4.4 percent increase in funding from the governor’s proposed budget and restores re-appropriations from previous budgets totaling $726,000 to keep programs in place where the governor had proposed sweeping these funds.

Restored programs include:

• The Cornell Rabies Program -- $50,000

• The Agriculture in the Classroom Program -- $80,000

• The Association of Agricultural Educators -- $66,000

• The Integrated Pest Management Program -- $500,000

• Local Fairs (Ag and Domestic Arts) -- $340,000

• The Wine and Grape Foundation -- $713,000

• The Farm Viability Institute -- $400,000

• The Center for Dairy Excellence -- $150,000

• The Apple Growers Association -- $206,000

Re-appropriations include:

• The Geneva Experiment Station -- $128,000

• The Cornell Phytophthora Research Program -- $44,000

• Apiary Inspection -- $200,000

• The Organic Farming Program -- $235,000

• NYS Wine Marketing and Promotion -- $34,000

• The New York Seafood Council -- $25,000

• The Maple Producers Association -- $58,000

• Onion Research -- $2,000

Other programs funded in the budget include:

• Core Diagnostic Lab -- $3,750,000

• NYS Cattle Health Assurance Program -- $360,000

• Quality Milk -- $1,174,000

• Johnes Disease -- $480,000

• FFA (Future Farmers of America) -- $192,000

• Farm Family Assistance (Farm Net) -- $384,000

• Geneva Seed Program -- $128,000

• Golden Nematode -- $62,000