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.
Squadron-Kavanagh Legislation Would Prohibit Use of Non-Therapeutic Antibiotics in Animals Sold as FoodSquadron, Kavanagh: FDA Moving in Right Direction But Undermined by Reliance on Voluntary Compliance by Drug Companies
NEW YORK – In response to new federal regulations announced this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for regulating antibiotics in livestock, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh are urging immediate passage of their bill to ban the use of antibiotics in animals sold for food in New York State and calling for mandatory compliance with the improved federal guidelines.
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.
“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.”
Joined by a broad spectrum of drug law reform advocates and fellow elected officials, State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) announced that she will be introducing the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) today. The legislation would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana under state law along lines similar to the state’s current system regulating alcohol, and would represent a new approach for New York State after decades of costly, counterproductive policies that have produced racially discriminatory outcomes.
“Prohibition of marijuana is a policy that just hasn’t worked, no matter how you look at it, and it’s time to have an honest conversation about what we should do next,” said Sen. Krueger. “The illegal marijuana economy is alive and well, and our unjust laws are branding nonviolent New Yorkers, especially young adults, as criminals, creating a vicious cycle that ruins lives and needlessly wastes taxpayer dollars. Worst of all, this system has resulted in a civil rights disaster: African Americans are dramatically more likely to be arrested for pot possession than whites, despite similar rates of marijuana use among both groups.”
It’s the holiday season, and for many people, that means there are holiday parties to attend. This time of year, get-togethers are not only a great way to spend quality time with family and friends, they are also an opportunity to treat ourselves to our favorites—whether it be Christmas cookies, hot cocoa, mulled cider, eggnog or any of the season’s specialties.
Much of the food and drink we enjoy during the holidays (and in fact year-round) is produced right here in New York. If you’d like to taste the best of what our state has to offer—and help support local businesses too—I encourage you to visit the “Pride of New York” website. Located at www.prideofny.com, you can use the site to search for locally grown and produced food and beverage products from more than 3,000 “Pride of New York” members.
But it’s not just individuals who are buying locally produced food and drink. According to a recent, informal survey I conducted, half of our region’s bars, taverns and restaurants serve wine and beverages produced locally in Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties. Key findings of the survey—which included barkeeps, restaurateurs and chefs from the region—include the following:
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.”
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.
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.
Elmira, N.Y.—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) has been named to the 2013 New York Farm Bureau "Circle of Friends" -- an honorary organization formed in 1990 by the state’s leading farm advocacy organization to recognize state legislators who strongly support agriculture.
The Farm Bureau represents more than 35,000 member farm families statewide.
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.
6 No-Cost Events Held in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties
Nearly 1,000 pets have been protected against rabies through State Senator Patty Ritchie’s no-cost vaccination clinics held recently in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties.
The clinics—which were made possible through funding Senator Ritchie secured in the state budget in response to an alarming increase in the number of wildlife rabies cases reported in the North Country—were hosted in conjunction with St. Lawrence County Public Health and Jefferson County Public Health.
“Rabies is a deadly disease, and I’m thrilled that through my clinics, we were able to vaccinate nearly 1,000 dogs and cats that may not have otherwise been protected,” said Senator Ritchie.
Legislation supporting farmers signed on the heels of Farm Bureau’s naming of Senator Young to its "Circle of Friends"
ALBANY - Following the recent naming of Senator Catharine Young to the New York Farm Bureau’s prestigious 2013 “Circle of Friends,” New York’s farmers scored a major victory in the fight to keep taxes down when Senator Young’s two percent cap on annual agricultural land assessments legislation was signed into law.
More than 225 animals were vaccinated at State Senator Patty Ritchie’s no-cost rabies clinic, which took place Wednesday evening in the Town of Le Ray.
The clinic was the second of three in Jefferson County being hosted in conjunction with Jefferson County Public Health. The free clinics are made possible through a special state budget grant secured by Senator Ritchie.
In addition to her Jefferson County events, Senator Ritchie also hosted three no-cost rabies clinics in St. Lawrence County. So far more than 700 pets have been vaccinated as a result of her efforts.
State Senator Betty Little announced legislation she sponsored banning the importation and possession of Eurasian boar, known as feral swine, was signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday, October 22.
Senator Little had worked closely with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and environmental organizations, including the Adirondack Council, to develop and build support for the measure.
Albany, N.Y.—Legislation co-sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) to place a two-percent cap on annual agricultural land assessment increases and deliver long-awaited and badly needed property tax relief to state farmers, has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Senator George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) is very pleased to announce that legislation (S.1952 of 2013) he co-sponsored to limit the annual increase in agricultural assessments to 2% has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk said she was very pleased that Governor Cuomo has signed into law a measure to cap assessment increases on farmland at two percent each year, and said the Governor has “once again demonstrated his support of and appreciation for the State’s farmers.”
The measure will “provide farmers in New York with a greater level of stability and predictability in budgeting and anticipating their expenses; And it will help small family farms to grow, invest in their farms and create new jobs,” Senator Tkaczyk said.
Previously, agricultural assessments could increase by as much as ten percent, which has led to a doubling of the base assessment for farm land in the last seven years. This has been disastrous for New York farmers.
According to recent data from the New York State Tax Department, 66% of Richmond County homeowners have yet to re-register for their Basic STAR exemption. If you or someone you know is a homeowner that currently receives the Basic STAR exemption, please take the time to register or forward this important information. The registration deadline is December 31, 2013.
Places Two Percent Cap on Annual Agricultural Land Assessment Increases
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced that her bill to help provide New York State Farmers with relief from rising property taxes has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Under Senate Bill 1952, a two percent cap would be placed on annual agricultural land assessment increases.
“It goes without saying that farming is a land intensive business, with one of the main costs for farmers being taxes on the land they utilize,” said Senate Agriculture Chair Patty Ritchie.
“By enacting this two percent cap, we are providing our hardworking farmers—whether they’re just starting out or continuing a generations-old family tradition—with the relief they need to continue to grow not only their businesses, but also New York’s biggest industry as a whole.”
Nearly 500 Pets Protected So Far Through Free Events
State Senator Patty Ritchie is reminding pet owners that she will host a no-cost rabies vaccination clinic in Evans Mills on Wednesday.
The free event—which is being hosted in conjunction with Jefferson County Public Health Service—will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Town of Le Ray Highway Barn, located at 8433 Willow St. in Evans Mills.
The event is the fifth of six clinics Ritchie is hosting in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. So far, nearly 500 pets have been protected from the deadly rabies disease through the free events—all made possible through a special state budget grant secured by Senator Ritchie.
“State health officials have found at least two dozen cases of rabies in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties in the past two years, which means our pets are at an increased risk of contracting this fatal disease,” said Senator Ritchie.