OSWEGO, NY – Oswego County Farm Bureau member Eric Behling took time away from his farm recently to visit with lawmakers in Albany to push for policy initiatives that will create a stronger economic climate for every farmer in the state.
On the heels of a report unveiled by NY State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli that showed the significant economic impact agriculture has in the state, Behling along with Farm Bureau members from across the state made the case for new policies and increased funding that will help promote and protect New York’s farms.
According to the report, the state’s farming economy grew by 22% in a five-year period.
The Central New York region, which includes Oswego, has more than 3,500 farms and 785,000 acres of farmland, ranks third in the state for agricultural sales and is the number one producer of soybeans and a top producer of corn.
“Comptroller DiNapoli’s address at the welcome breakfast set the tone for the day. We are grateful for the renewed focus the state has put on agriculture, but we must continue to ensure our voice is heard and lawmakers understand agriculture’s needs,” Behling said.
Behling met with Senator Patty Ritchie, Assemblyman Will Barclay, Assemblyman Bob Oaks and representatives from across the state to talk about legislative priorities that would grow the rural economy. Among the specific priorities members advocated for are support for a refundable investment tax credit, increased funding to repair aging roads and bridges, a creation of a Farm E-Z Pass, support for the Environmental Protection Fund, the reform of the state’s inherent risk law for equine operations, investment in regional food hubs and funding for agriculture education in our schools.
“Our priorities stem from Farm Bureau’s annual grassroots process that brings farmers together from across the state who offer solutions to many public policy issues that impact our farms,” Behling said. “We will continue to work hard to keep the focus on agriculture.”
Oswego County agriculture was also on display at the popular Taste of New York reception with Leroy, Leon and Craig Hurlbut owners of Ashley Lynn Winery hosting a booth.
The reception is popular with state lawmakers and staff and is an opportunity for farmers to relax and mingle while sampling New York State grown and produced goods.
Oswego County Farm Bureau is dedicated to solving the economic and public policy issues challenging the agricultural community. The county is part of New York Farm Bureau, the largest agricultural advocacy group in New York State, known to members and the public as “The Voice of New York Agriculture.”