Issues: Organic Farming

Senator Valesky Attends 2014 New York State Fair Opening

Senator Valesky joined Governor Andrew Cuomo to officially open the 2014 New York State Fair on Thursday, August 21.

August 21, 2014
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RITCHIE VISITS BITTERSWEET FARM

State Senator Patty Ritchie visited Bittersweet Farm in Heuvelton recently, to talk with its owners about what can be done to support our region’s hardworking farmers. 

August 15, 2014
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Senator Gallivan issues 2014 Agritourism Guide

Farms and businesses across Western New York are opening their doors, issuing a heartfelt invitation to sample the abundant bounty and natural beauty found in New York's growing venture - agritourism.  Agritourism is the intersection of agriculture and tourism, a heady mix of farms, markets, people, livestock and the culture of growing food, guaranteed to entertain people of all ages.  Whether you're looking for an authentic farm experience, a pastoral setting to pick strawberries or ride horses, or scary twists and turns in a Halloween corn maze, it can all be found right here in your own backyard.

August 14, 2014
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State ag commish to visit Fair in Pike

August 1, 2014
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Legislative Notebook: State Initiatives of Interest to Veterans

Here is a partial listing of bills I have supported this session to aid New York’s former servicemen and servicewomen. These initiatives will now go to Governor Cuomo for final action.

-- Legislation I co-sponsored was passed by both houses (S.7839, first introduced as S.4714)) to extend the Military Service Credit Law of 2000 to all veterans who have served in the military. Right now, public employees who served in the armed forces may purchase up to three years of pension credit only if their military service occurred during specified conflicts. This measure will expand this opportunity to public employee veterans who also served their country in peacetime.

June 26, 2014
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SENATE ADDS TWO MORE PIECES TO ‘YOUNG FARMERS’ PLAN

Strengthens $1 Million Program to Attract Next Generation of Family Farmers

June 20, 2014
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HAT TRICK! SENATE APPROVES THREE BILLS TO BOOST FARMING

Two Sent to Governor on Way to Becoming Law

State Senator Patty Ritchie announced that three bills she’s sponsored to boost farming in New York were approved by the Senate today, and two were sent on to the Governor, the last stop before they become law.

The measures would expand markets for New York farm products, allow farmers to increase their land that’s available for agriculture purposes, and look for ways to boost programs that can help aging farmers who want to stay in business.

“New York’s $5.7 billion agriculture industry is key to our region’s and the state’s economy and I am constantly working to find ways to keep farmers growing,” said Senator Ritchie, who serves as chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee.

“These three bills build on—and complement—my earlier legislative efforts to strengthen New York agriculture and help preserve family farming as the backbone of our agricultural industry.”

June 10, 2014
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THIS SUMMER, EAT FARMERS MARKET FRESH

Senator Ritchie’s Weekly Column

More vitamins and minerals, protection against diseases such as heart disease and cancer, a lower number on the scale and freshness that is second to none—these are just some of the benefits of eating fruits, vegetables and other foods found at your local farmers market. 

May 12, 2014
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SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE APPROVES NEW COMMISSIONER

The State Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday approved Richard Ball—a native New Yorker and longtime farmer—as the new Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE CONFIRMATION PROCEEDINGS (TRT 01:04)

“I first had opportunity to meet Richard during the recovery efforts following Hurricane Irene, when he was gracious enough to let me survey the damage sustained at his farm and offered suggestions for how to best help farmers rebound from their losses,” said Senator Patty Ritchie, who chairs the Agriculture Committee. 

“I learned then agriculture and helping his fellow farmers succeed are Richard’s passions.  I’d like to thank the Governor for making such an excellent appointment to this post and I’m looking forward to working alongside the new Commissioner to help our state’s largest industry continue to grow.”

May 6, 2014
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BUILDING A FUTURE FOR FARMING IN THE NEW STATE BUDGET

Snow and cold aside, March is a “sweet” month.  That’s because of “Maple Weekend,” an annual celebration held to promote New York’s maple industry. With 2.2 million taps, our state is the nation’s second largest maple producer with plenty of room for growth.During this year’s Maple Weekend, I had the chance to visit with our region’s newest young farmer, Josh Parker.  A16 year-old, Josh has set up his own maple sugar operation in St.

March 31, 2014
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RITCHIE ‘YOUNG FARMERS’ PLAN INCLUDED IN FINAL STATE BUDGET

Budget Also Reaffirms NY’s Commitment to Agriculture with Record New Funding for Farm Programs State Senator Patty Ritchie announced that key elements of her “Young Farmers NY” plan to support and encourage careers in agriculture will be included in the final state budget, which also adds record levels of new funding for priority agriculture programs that can help farmers succeed. The $1 million Young Farmers NY initiative includes Sen. Ritchie’s proposal for new farmer innovation grants—now called the “NY Beginning Farmer Fund”—of up to $50,000 each to help start or expand an agriculture business.

March 30, 2014
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WHAT IF THERE WERE NO FARMERS?

Senator Ritchie’s Weekly Column From the food we eat to the products we use, not a day goes by that we don’t have a farmer to thank for helping to provide life’s necessities.  But, what if there weren’t any farmers?  As recent research suggests, that’s a question we should be considering.  Farming is our state’s most important industry, it’s also a way of life handed down from generation to generation. But as the recent USDA Census of Agriculture depicted, the average New York farmer is changing. According to the report, the average age of New York farmers is 57.1 years, with two farmers aged 65 and older for each one under 35.  In addition, the survey also pointed to the fact that roughly 50,000 acres of farmland were lost in New York in each of the past five years.

March 10, 2014
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RITCHIE UNVEILS PLAN TO SECURE THE FUTURE OF FAMILY FARMING

“Young Farmers NY” Encourages New Generation of Farmers, Strengthens NY’s Leading IndustrySenator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today unveiled her “Young Farmers NY” plan to address issues related to the advancing average age of New York farmers and to preserve the future of family farming.  The initiative will support and encourage a new generation of farmers and help strengthen the state’s leading industry for decades to come.CLICK HERE TO SEE DETAILS OF THE PLANWATCH VIDEO OF THE STATE CAPITOL PRESS CONFERENCE“Young Farmers NY,” which was announced today at a Capitol news conference, is a series of proposals to smooth the transfer of farmland to the next generation, preserve existing farmland, and help young farmers overcome obstacles to give them a grea

March 4, 2014
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RITCHIE BILL TO BOOST LOCAL AGRICULTURE SIGNED INTO LAW

Measure Seeks to Increase Local Foods in State Facilities 

A bill sponsored by State Senator Patty Ritchie that seeks to use the tremendous buying power of  state government to boost purchases of locally grown foods for use in state prisons, hospitals and other agencies has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

Under Senate Bill 4061, officials will be directed to create a list of competitively priced food products available for institutional sale, giving state agencies easy access to farm fresh products. State officials will also be required to regularly update their local food purchasing lists and measure state agencies’ compliance with directives to expand purchases from local food sources.

“Eating local is a big trend right now—and it can mean big business for local farmers and food producers.   This legislation builds upon that movement, seeking to use the purchasing power of state government to help farmers grow,” said Senator Ritchie, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

December 19, 2013
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NEARLY 60 ATTEND AGRICULTURE GRANT OPPORTUNITY WORKSHOP

COULDN'T MAKE IT? CLICK HERE TO ORDER A FREE DVD OF THE PRESENTATIONS

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE PRESENTATIONS ONLINE

Nearly 60 farmers, agribusiness owners and others involved in the agriculture industry accessed information on a variety of funding and loan programs at today’s Agricultural Grant Opportunity Workshop, sponsored by State Senator Patty Ritchie and the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE EVENT FLYER

“From young people just starting their careers to people who have been farmers their entire lives, the group in attendance at today’s workshop was as diverse as the agriculture industry itself,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie.

“I’m thrilled that along with the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council, we were able to provide agribusiness owners with vital information they need to expand their businesses, create jobs and benefit the region’s economy as a result of their efforts.”

December 12, 2013
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RITCHIE RELEASES ANNUAL AGRICULTURE REPORT

Details Senate Ag Committee Activities for 2013

***CLICK HERE TO READ THE REPORT***

State Senator Patty Ritchie has released the annual report of the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture—which she chairs—detailing the activities of the Committee in 2013. 

“Agriculture is our state’s biggest industry, and as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, it’s a priority for me to help support our hardworking farmers in an effort to help the industry grow,” said Senator Ritchie

“This report details the hard work done by the Committee in 2013 and I would like to thank my colleagues, as well as the hardworking members of the agriculture industry whose input allowed us to take significant steps to foster further growth of this vital industry.”

December 9, 2013
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RITCHIE ATTENDS NY FARM BUREAU STATE ANNUAL MEETING

State Senator Patty Ritchie joined delegates, members and supporters of the New York Farm Bureau at the organization’s State Annual Meeting, held this week in Liverpool, NY.

Senator Ritchie—who chairs the New York State Senate Agriculture Committee—is a member of the Farm Bureau’s “Circle of Friends” list, comprised of legislators who show exemplary support for New York agriculture and the Farm Bureau.

December 6, 2013
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CALLING ALL FARMERS! FREE AGRICULTURAL GRANT OPPORTUNITY WORKSHOP TO BE HELD ON DECEMBER 12TH

Hosted by Senator Patty Ritchie and the  Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council

In an effort to help farmers and others in the agriculture industry grow their businesses, State Senator Patty Ritchie—in conjunction with the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council—will host a free Agricultural Grant Opportunity Workshop on Thursday, December 12th. 

Featuring information on a variety of funding and loan programs, the event will take place from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, located at 203 North Hamilton Street in Watertown.

“As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, it’s a top priority for me to find ways to help farmers meet the challenges they face and help them grow New York State’s already thriving agriculture economy,” said Senator Ritchie.

November 27, 2013
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RITCHIE MEETS WITH AG AND MARKETS ACTING COMMISSIONER

State Senator Patty Ritchie met recently with Department of Agriculture and Markets Acting Commissioner James Bays in Albany to discuss supporting New York’s hardworking farmers and expanding opportunities for those in the industry.

November 15, 2013
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Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Tkaczyk & Senator Stavisky Tour Upstate Farms

(Ulster County, NY) Recognizing the importance of the agriculture sector to the New York economy, Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk and Senator Toby Ann Stavisky toured various Ulster County farms. Senator Tkaczyk helped organize this event to better demonstrate how vital agriculture is for the local and statewide economy and for legislators to gain a dee

October 11, 2013
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