Larkin Request For Local Agriculture Funding Included In Senate Budget

William J. Larkin, Jr.

March 16, 2006

Upon the successful lobbying of Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson), the State Senate has included $85,000 for the Hudson Valley Laboratory and $500,000 for the New York State Apple Growers’ Association in its version of the New York State Budget.

Located in Highland, New York, the Hudson Valley Laboratory conducts applied research to improve the production of fruit and vegetable crops grown in eastern New York, and to assist New York growers through educational programs organized by Cornell Cooperative Extension and Cornell University scientists. The $85,000 appropriation by the Senate will fund a grape research/cultivation program for the Hudson Valley. "This money will directly impact an expansion of the wine industry in the Hudson Valley as has been successfully occurring in regions like the Finger Lakes and Long Island," said Senator Larkin. "It will help our local growers compete in the region, nationally and even in the world market."

The $500,000 appropriation for the New York State Apple Growers’ Association, a not-for-profit trade association representing nearly 700 commercial apple growers in New York State, will assist in the promotion and marketing of New York State apples. "New York is the nation's second largest producer of apples, second only to the State of Washington," said Senator Larkin. "The apple industry is more than a $140 million industry for New York State. "This funding will help our growers spread the word in domestic and international marketplaces about the best apples in the world."

Approved this week, the State Senate and Assembly have now each passed their own versions of the State Budget. "We still have differences," said Senator Larkin, "But through the work of the conference committees, we are close to resolving them before the April 1 deadline. As we move toward a final State Budget, I will continue to push hard for this funding that is so critical to the agriculture industry."