Agriculture Committee Sets Hearing on Farm Worker Bill

State Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Darrel J. Aubertine today announced that a hearing on the Farm Worker Fair Labor Practices Act (S.2247-B) has been scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 1, Hearing Room A in the Legislative Office Building.

“This hearing will enable us for the first time as a committee to listen to the concerns of both the advocates for this bill and the farmers who will bear the responsibility of adhering to its new regulations,” Sen. Aubertine said. “We need to better assess the impact of this bill and be sure that we have the facts regarding how this bill will affect our economy, our farm workers and our family farms. We’ve lost more than a farm a day in New York State over the past 30 years and there’s no question that we cannot afford to lose another industry, especially agriculture, which is a cornerstone of our economy.”

The farm worker bill was amended twice in January before it was reported out of the Senate Labor Committee on January 20. Senator Aubertine and the members of his committee appealed to have the bill committed to the Agriculture Committee on the grounds that its wide ranging impact on agriculture and provisions, including additional responsibilities for the state Department of Agriculture and Markets commissioner, warrant oversight by the Agriculture Committee.

On January 21, the bill was assigned to the Agriculture Committee. Due to the wide ranging impact of this bill, Sen. Aubertine and the committee have scheduled this public hearing to ensure that the bill is opened up to public scrutiny and comment. This bill presents new regulations for the state’s 35,000 farms, even those that do not regularly hire farm workers, not to mention other provisions that could impact the price of food for consumers and the availability of local products.