Ranzenhofer backs “Grown in NY” plan

 

Plan aims to grow agriculture and family farms

Albany, N.Y. – State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced his support for the “Grown in New York” plan.  The plan would strengthen the State’s $5.2 billion agriculture industry by expanding markets for New York-grown products, improving the bottom lines of family farms, and investing in the future of farming.

"As the number one industry in the State, our family farms do more than just feed New Yorkers.  They are responsible for providing food for people across our nation and all over the world.  The “Grown in NY” plan is a comprehensive approach to further strengthen and grow agri-business so that it remains the number one industry for generations to come,” said Ranzenhofer.

The “Grown in NY” plan would reduce taxes on farmers, curtail red tape and outdated regulations, improve farmers’ access to customers by expanding farmers markets and food hubs, put more New York-grown products in schools and government facilities, encourage growth of New York’s maple and wine industries, put idled farmland back in production, and eliminate the burdensome 18-a energy tax surcharge.

“Like many other small businesses, already-high energy costs have spiked for many family farms due to the 18-a assessment on utility bills. That is why it is imperative to repeal the utility tax to lower the high cost of doing business.  When New York’s family farms grow and prosper, so does New York’s economy,” said Ranzenhofer.   

The “Grown in NY” plan includes the following provisions:

Strengthening Family Farms by Reducing Taxes on Farmers

  • Two percent property tax cap for farms
  • Reduce energy costs on farms by rejecting the Governor’s effort to extend the 18-a energy tax, and restoring the 18-a assessment back to its pre-2009 level

 

Helping New York Farmers Expand Their Markets, Boost Productivity, Increase Profitability

 

  • Dairy: Support the Governor’s review of a state regulation that limits the size of some dairy farms
  • Maple: Support legislation to cut burdensome regulations and expand opportunities for maple producers
  • Farmers Markets: Urge State Department of Agriculture and Markets to commit additional resources to updating its database of New York farm markets, and make information more easily available to the public
  • Food Hubs: Support the Governor’s plan to create new “food hubs” located in growing regions of the State to facilitate access to New York City markets
  • “Buy from the Backyard:” Support this program that sets a goal of at least 20 percent of food purchases by state and local government agencies to include locally produced items
  • Remove Tariffs: Encourage our federal delegation, as well as Canadian officials to remove a severe tariff that restricts New York wines from being imported into Ontario
  • Farm Breweries: Support increased funding to assist farmers in adding new crops like malt and hops for use in New York’s burgeoning small batch and locally produced beer breweries
  • Biofuel Crops: Support tax incentives for farmers to produce and use alternative, crop-based fuels
  • Rescue Abandoned Farmland: Provide incentives to return forest and abandoned fields to active farm production

 

Keeping Farms in the Family

  • Increase Estate Tax Threshold for farms from $1 million to $5 million
  • Create Farm Savings Accounts for young people to purchase farms and to help farmers cover unexpected expenses and losses related to farming
  • Support continued funding of farming education and enrichment programs such as Future Farmers of America and 4-H.

 

Removing Obstacles to Success and Cutting Red Tape for Farmers: Cut needless red tape for farmers, who are subject to regulation by more than 20 different federal, state and local agencies.  Duplicative red tape prevents farmers from spending more time working in their fields.

Investing in the Future of Farming: Seek additional budgetary support for: maple promotion, the Farm Viability Institute, dairy profits teams that help farmers improve efficiency, and funds to help berry and apple growers recover from historic storms and damage from invasive species.

Dine: Pride of New York: Expand the current "Pride of New York" program by creating the "Dine: Pride of New York" program, allowing restaurants serving food and food products produced in New York State access to promotional materials in order to increase their exposure to consumers and promote the sale of locally grown food.

Members of the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture unveiled the plan at a Capitol news conference Tuesday morning.  Senator Ranzenhofer is a member of the Agriculture Committee.  

###