ALBANY -- New York apple growers and New York Farm Bureau were expressing gratitudetoday to Senator Michael Nozzolio and the State Senate for allocating $750,000 in the state budget to help promote the apple industry.
“Sen. Nozzolio has once again stepped up for the apple growers of western New York,” said Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association.
“Sen. Nozzolio’s support will go a long way to ensuring that the apple industry in western New York continues to thrive,” said John Lincoln, president of New York Farm Bureau.
“It was a pleasure to fight to deliver additional funding in this year’s State budget for New York’s apple industry, one of the largest growing sectors of our agricultural economy,” said Senator Nozzolio. This critical funding is an integral part of our continued aggressive efforts to help New York's apple growers remain viable and competitive in the world economy."
“As the State Senator representing one of the largest agricultural districts in New York, I know how important the apple growers and farmers are to our region and our State, and I will continue to fight on their behalf,” continued Nozzolio.
The state budget, passed yesterday, also included another $500,000 for the industry to control and eradicate the plum pox virus in western New York, a plant disease that could be devastating to the state’s horticulture industry.
The New York Apple Association and New York Farm Bureau led a joint lobbying effort in Albany over the past two months, working to get continued funding in the state budget.
The budget money goes directly to help pay for advertising and promotion of our apples around the state, Allen said.
The Apple Association has regularly received funding from the legislature to pay for promotional efforts. Last year, the NYAA received $550,000. Those promotional efforts are largely credited with helping increase consumer demand for New York-grown apples.
Last year was one of the best years ever for New York apple growers, with a sizable crop and record-setting demand for local apples.
New York growers have used the state money to pay for media advertising. Commercials center on the health benefit of eating New York-grown apples. Money also helps to pay for New York Apple Association sponsorship of the New York City Marathon in Nov.
New York apple growers also contribute into a pool by self-assessing eight cents per every bushel grown in the state. Growers raise more than $1.5 million on their own every year through grower assessments.
New York ranks second in the nation in apple production, with more than 30 million bushels harvested last year, according to the USDA.