See the Summer 2013 edition of Rural Futures

Thomas F. O'Mara

July 16, 2013

Albany, N.Y., July 16—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats), who serves as one of 10 state legislators on the joint, 10-member bipartisan Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, today announced the online availability of the commission's Summer 2013 edition of Rural Futures.

O'Mara said that the commission periodically publishes Rural Futures as an informative roundup of rural affairs in New York and nationally, including updates on legislative efforts and initiatives in rural communities, as well as summaries for rural leaders and officials on grants, publications, useful websites and upcoming events.

The latest, Summer 2013 issue includes articles on:

-- what the production of “cellulosic ethanol,” energy produced through the conversion of plant-based materials, can mean to New York State, highlighted by an extensive interview with Dr. Larry Walker, director of the Cornell University Biofuels Laboratory;

-- “The Great New York State County Fairs”; 

--  “Farming for the Next Generation: 21st Century Agriculture”;

-- an overview of the NY FarmNet initiative, first established in 1986, and its ongoing work to provide an assistance and support network for the state’s farm families; and

-- an update on the State Senate’s “Grown in New York” plan introduced earlier this year by O’Mara and his colleagues.    

"'Rural Futures' is a great source of rural affairs news, information and updates," said O'Mara, whose 58th Senate District is comprised of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates counties, and a portion of Tompkins County.   "It’s a valuable resource for local officials and concerned citizens looking to stay updated on the commission’s work and other state and national rural affairs initiatives.  It’s also an important tool for the commission to keep raising awareness of many of the short- and long-term challenges facing New York’s rural communities and regions.  The commission has long been noted as a voice of rural New York within the state Legislature. ”

O’Mara’s was appointed to the commission in 2011.  Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D-Ithaca) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C-Corning) are also members of the commission, which is currently chaired by western New York Senator Catharine Young (R-Olean). 

The commission, commonly known as the Rural Resources Commission, was established by the Legislature three decades ago in 1982.  It was established to examine the impact of rural communities and industries on the state economy; review existing state laws and regulations impacting rural regions; assess the effectiveness of state programs and services affecting the needs and problems of rural areas; and develop recommendations for the Legislature to enhance and protect New York’s rural resources.  It’s comprised of 10 members – five from the Assembly, and five senators.    

Approximately 44 of New York’s 62 counties are designated as rural, including all of the counties O’Mara represents, and the Commission has worked on a range of issues including agriculture, economic development, universal broadband, education, land use, transportation, local government structure and functions, volunteer recruitment and retention, and health care.