State Senator Mike Nozzolio is calling on Governor Paterson to immediately withdraw his proposal to increase fees on Apple growers in New York State. The proposed 2010-11 Executive Budget calls for an 82% increase in Apple Marketing Order (AMO) and 136% increase in Apple Research and Development Program (ARDP) fees.
“As the New York State Senator representing one of the largest agricultural districts in Upstate New York, I know how crucial the apple industry is to our Upstate economy. Our region depends on a thriving farming industry,” said Senator Nozzolio. “These are the worst economic conditions our state’s apple industry has ever faced and it is impacting farmers on all levels. We must take immediate action before our apple industry is completely overwhelmed and our growers go bankrupt.”
“These funds are not tax dollars, they come from the apple grower who have paid into these funds to support the marketing and promotion of New York State apples and apple products.” said Senator Nozzolio. “Operating an orchard is costly, and increasing state fees is not going to benefit anyone, except New York’s bloated state budget.”
“Increasing these fees will only hurt valuable research projects, which create jobs and keep our food safe.” said Senator Nozzolio. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to join me in demanding that Governor Paterson withdraw his proposal to increase AMO and ARDP fees. We should be giving apple growers all the resources they need to produce and market the highest quality of apples.”
New York is the nation's second-largest apple producing state, generating $185 million annually, over half of the state's total agricultural receipts. New York's 700 apple farmers produce 29 million bushels of apples annually. The average apple farm in New York State is family-owned and consists of 950 trees, producing an average of 1.2 billion pounds of apples per year.