Agriculture Recognized for Role in State’s Long-Term Economic Stability
The New York State Senate Democratic Majority, led by Agriculture  Chairman Darrel J. Aubertine , have announced the Agriculture Budget for FY2010-11 protects agriculture programs with proven economic benefits to communities. To offset spending reductions occurring across the board in this budget, the Majority targeted limited funds to programs essential to the state’s fiscal recovery and economic growth.
The budget supports several programs vital to the Agricultural industry’s success, such as:
- The Wine and Grape Foundation , which helps vineyards build economic relationships with sellers and consumers.
- Future Farmers of America , which teaches youth the importance of the Agricultural industry to the local economy and promotes future generations of farmers.
- The Farm Viability Institute , which researches better business models to help family farms thrive; New York has lost more than 13,000 family farms in recent decades.
- The Integrated Pest Management Program , which conducts research for how to effectively use safe pesticides and other products while protecting soil and other environmental needs for the agricultural industry.
Senator Aubertine (D-Cape Vincent) said, “This budget agreement restores more than $2.5 million in local funding for agriculture and reprioritizes funding to help our state’s number one industry. This funding will be used to keep our county fairs strong, provide revenue to continue building the growing wine industry, and hold in place essential statewide programs from Farm Net  to Agriculture in the Classroom , and the Farm Viability Institute to the Center for Dairy Excellence . In these difficult times, this funding will help keep these programs operating on behalf of our farmers.”
Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau  said, “The difficulty of the state’s fiscal climate was abundantly clear in this year’s appropriations for agriculture. The final outcome for agricultural funding represented a substantial cut over years past. However, farmers are grateful that we were able to retain several core programs and restore some critical funds for research, education, and promotion. New York Farm Bureau thanks Senator Aubertine, Assemblyman Magee and all of their colleagues who fought hard for agricultural funding, and recognize that this year is indeed a challenging one. We have to continue working collaboratively to articulate a message about the importance of these programs to the safety of our food supply and the ability to produce locally grown products.”
Growing New York’s Agricultural Industry
The 2010-11 budget restores a 4.4 percent increase in funding from the governor’s proposed budget and restores re-appropriations from previous budgets totaling $726,000 to keep programs in place where the governor had proposed sweeping these funds.
Significant programs protected in this budget include:
- FFA (Future Farmers of America)
- The Maple Producers Association 
- The Organic Farming Program
- Core Diagnostic Lab
- NYS Cattle Health Assurance Program 
- Quality Milk
- Farm Family Assistance (Farm Net)
- Geneva Seed Program
- Apiary Inspection
- The New York Seafood Council 
Programs the Majority restored funding for include:
- The Integrated Pest Management Program
- The Wine and Grape Foundation
- The Farm Viability Institute
- The Cornell Rabies Program
- The Agriculture in the Classroom Program
- The Association of Agricultural Educators 
- Local Fairs (Ag and Domestic Arts)
- The Center for Dairy Excellence
- The Apple Growers Association 
Additionally, the Agriculture Budget accepts a proposal from the Governor to end the state’s role in dog licensing. This move will allow municipalities, which are already required to have a licensing program, to keep all of the revenue from license sales, while requiring these governments to maintain a record.