Senator Patty Ritchie, chair of the State Senate's Agriculture Committee, is pictured with New York's 51st Dairy Princess, Casey Porter, of Adams Center, during the annual Dairy Parade, held June 6 in downtown Watertown . The 17-year-old, who grew up on a dairy farm and plans to study agriculture this fall at Cornell, was chosen over 24 other contestants at the Coronation event held in Liverpool in February.
Dairy is the centerpiece of New York's $5.7 billion agriculture industry, and New York currently ranks third in the US in dairy production, with 5427 dairy farms--and young farmers, like Casey, will help lead the indutry's growth into the future, Senator Ritchie said.
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.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie’s plan to create a “St. Lawrence Wine Trail,” highlighting for tourists and local residents the growing number of wineries and quality wines produced in the North Country, was approved by the Senate today. The bill (S.6321) now goes to the Governor for his signature.
Legislation Will Boost Tourism, Create Jobs by Putting Local Wineries on the Map
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced her legislation to put North Country wineries on the map, create jobs and boost the economy has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Ritchie’s bill (S.6321-A) creates the “St. Lawrence Wine Trail,” highlighting for tourists and residents the increasing number of wines being produced locally.
“In recent years a significant number of new wineries have popped up across New York State—and that includes a number of new establishments that are right here in our backyard,” said Senator Ritchie.
“The creation of the St. Lawrence Wine Trail is a chance for the North Country to capitalize on the fast-growing wine industry. By putting these local businesses on the map, we can boost tourism, create jobs, encourage more people to shop local as well as strengthen current wineries and encourage more new businesses to open.”
Request Comes As Governor Proposes Expansion of “Taste NY” Initiative
As Governor Cuomo works to expand “Taste NY”—a program designed to highlight locally grown and produced food and products—Senator Ritchie is urging the placement of a Taste NY retail store at the now-closed Hastings rest area on I-81.
The request comes after the Governor this week proposed an expansion of Taste NY, setting goals to add Taste NY retail stores in strategic locations and triple gross sales of participating vendors in the coming year. In her letter to Governor Cuomo, Senator Ritchie suggests reopening the rest area between exits 32 and 31, which has sat vacant since 2010 and adding a Taste NY retail location in an effort to welcome visitors and highlight local products.
“Heavily traveled by local residents as well as a significant number of Canadian shoppers going to and from Syracuse, I-81 would be a great location for featuring items grown and produced locally including wine, craft beer, maple syrup, fresh produce such as apples and onions, dairy products and so much more,” said Senator Ritchie in her letter.
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.”