Senator Hinchey and Senate Ag Committee Move Bills to Strengthen the State of NY Agriculture

Michelle Hinchey

February 23, 2021

Albany, NY…Senate Agriculture Chair Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) and members of the Agriculture Committee today advanced five bills that will support farmers, agricultural producers, and consumers across New York State. The committee moved bills to allow movie theatres to obtain licenses to sell wine and beer to moviegoers, establish a tax credit to compensate farmers who use carbon farming practices, and expand the state’s Grown and Certified Program to include animal and plant fiber producers.

Senator Hinchey sponsors two of the bills approved by the Agriculture Committee today. One bill would establish a state program for distributing surplus agricultural products to food banks, effectively making the Nourish NY program permanent. A second bill would create a free hotline to connect farmers with information that will help them grow and improve their business.

“I’m proud to advance bills that reflect the diverse needs of our agricultural industry and ones that support everyone from our craft beverage producers to our livestock farmers,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. “It’s never been more important to strengthen the links between New York farmers and consumers, and we are determined, as a committee, to find ways to fortify our agricultural businesses while connecting more of our residents to the wide selection of high-quality foods and farm-based products grown and produced here in New York State.”

The bills advanced today by the Senate Agriculture Committee are as follows:

  • Nourish NY Program: This bill, S4892, would establish the state’s farm-to-food bank program, Nourish NY, as a permanent program to distribute surplus agricultural products to food relief organizations across New York State.
  • Farming Hotline: This bill, S4072, would create a “one-stop” hotline under the guidance of Cornell Cooperative Extension to connect farmers with information to grow their businesses, such as tax credit programs, beginning farmer loans, and sustainable practices
  • Sale of Beer and Wine at Movie Theatres: This bill, S4136, sets forth a framework to license and regulate the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in movie theaters. The legislation contains protections to prevent overconsumption and underage drinking with a mandatory ID check and a one-drink per-purchase per-ticket rule.
  • Carbon Farming Tax Credit: This bill, S4707, would create a tax credit to compensate farmers for implementing land management practices that improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • New York State Animal and Plant Fiber Program: This bill, S3396, would expand the state's existing Grown and Certified Program to include animal and plant fiber, such as sheep's wool and hemp, as a new category of product eligible for such seal of certification.

Senator Michelle Hinchey represents the 46th Senate District, which includes Greene and Montgomery Counties and parts of Albany, Schenectady, and Ulster Counties. Senator Hinchey serves as Chair of the Agriculture Committee and sits on the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, Energy and Telecommunications, Environmental Conservation, and Local Government Committees.

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