State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mt. Hope), today said that two local agricultural organizations will share in $9,500 to promote agriculture in the Region. The Rondout Valley Growers Association and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County's Local Farmers Markets will receive State aid as part of the 2005-2006 State Budget.
"Agriculture remains our State's largest industry. Supporting local farmers increases jobs and keeps our hard earned pay checks local. I am pleased to be able to assist by securing funds for these two outstanding local agriculture groups," Senator Bonacic said.
The Sullivan County Area Farmers' Market, through Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County, operates farmers markets in Jeffersonville, Liberty, Callicoon, and Roscoe. The Rondout Valley Growers Association has over thirty families which operate farms in Ulster County. Senator Bonacic also secured funding for the Rondout Valley Growers Association in 2004.
Town of Rochester resident Chris Kelder, who was instrumental in founding the Rondout Valley Growers Association, said, "Rondout Valley Growers combine to employ dozens of area residents. In addition, we market the freshest produce sold in our local markets. The public is invited to our farms where everyone can see what makes Rondout Valley products so outstanding." For more information on Rondout Valley Growers, visit their web-site at www.rondoutvalleygrowers.org.
Inaddition to supporting funds to promote local agriculture, Senator Bonacic has been instrumental in improving the State's Farmworker Housing Program. Under a law sponsored by Senator Bonacic last year, the program was dramatically expanded by taking it from a seasonal farmworker initiative to one which also provides housing assistance to dairy farmers, New York's largest segment of year-round farmers.
Under the Farmworker Housing Program, no interest loans are made available to farmers to improve housing for farmworkers. "Safe, sanitary, and well constructed farmworker housing is essential to maintaining the quality of agricultural products. In New York State, we have created a Farmworker Housing Program which helps meet those necessary standards to keep our farms among the most competitive in the world," Senator Bonacic said. Farmers interested in the Farmworker Housing Program are invited to call Senator Bonacic's Office for more information at (845) 255-9656.