An innovative plan aimed at preserving the future of family farming, increasing investments in vital agriculture programs and a renewed push to encourage people to “eat local,” are just several of the highlights included in the 2014 Annual Report of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released today by the committee’s chair, State Senator Patty Ritchie.
“Throughout 2014, my colleagues and I worked diligently to grow our state’s largest industry by doing things like repealing costly mandates affecting farmers, restoring and increasing funding for vital programs and launching new initiatives like Young Farmers NY,” said Senator Ritchie, who was just reappointed as Senate Agriculture Committee Chair last week.
The Legislative Commission on Rural Resources is proud to have published our Winter 2014-2015 Rural Futures Edition (click on the link below). We hope you find Rural Futures both interesting and informative. Please feel free to contact the Commission staff with any questions, comments or suggestions. Thank you!
"Chanukah is the celebration of miracles, a reminder that all things are possible," Senator Parker said. "As you celebrate the spirit of Chanukah with friends and family, I wish you health, happiness and good fortune." The holiday celebrates a legendary victory of the Maccabees, a band of Jews, over a Greek army that occupied the Holy Land. After the battle, the victorious Maccabees found only a one day supply of oil in the temple to light the lamps. But the oil burned miraculously for eight days, the story says.
Come learn about New York's New Farmers' Grant Fund created specifically for new and early stage farmers. Senator Gallivan and a representative from Empire State Development will be on hand to answer your questions.
Receives Nod for Fourth Consecutive Year for Support of Agriculture Industry
In recognition of her strong support for our state’s agriculture industry, State Senator Patty Ritchie was named to the New York Farm Bureau’s “Circle of Friends” for the fourth consecutive year.
“As New York’s leading industry, agriculture is vitally important to the economic success of our state. Not only that, but in many families, farming is a tradition, passed down from generation to generation,” said Senator Ritchie, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“As someone who grew up on a farm and the representative of a region that is largely rural, I am thrilled to once again receive this special recognition. As the 2015 Legislative Session approaches, I am looking forward to continuing to work closely with the Farm Bureau in an effort to further expand the industry and provide a boost to our hardworking farm families.”
As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee Senator Ritchie has led the charge to repeal costly mandates affecting farmers, restore budget cuts to programs utilized by those in the industry, launch new initiatives to protect the future of agriculture and cut red tape and to help ensure farming remains a viable profession in New York state.
Includes Initiatives to Encourage Young People to Pursue Agriculture Careers
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced components of her “Young Farmers NY” program—a plan aimed at addressing issues related to the advancing average age of New York farmers and preserving the future of family farming—are being made available today.
Parts of the program launched today include more than $600,000 in grants as well as a loan forgiveness program, both aimed at helping young farmers overcome obstacles and giving them a greater opportunity for a successful career in agriculture.
“It’s hard to imagine a world without farmers,” said Senate Agriculture Chair State Senator Patty Ritchie. “But it’s something that could become a reality if we don’t take proactive steps towards addressing the issue of our state’s aging farmer population.”
“The components of my Young Farmers NY program rolled out today will give those who are just starting out a real incentive for joining the ranks of our state’s hardworking farmers and more importantly, will serve to protect our state’s biggest industry for many years to come.”
Syracuse, NY – State Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) is taking part in the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York’s (NOFA-NY) Locavore Challenge, which it holds each September to inspire awareness and action in eating locally and organically through events and activities around the state and online.
“We are fortunate to live in an area with a strong agricultural base and where locally produced foods are so readily available,” Senator Valesky said. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of the abundance of produce at our farmers’ markets, to support restaurants that buy local food products and to take part in the Locavore Challenge themselves.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
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.