Ritchie: Budget is a boost to state agriculture

by Andrew Henderson

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed executive budget, presented earlier this week, includes funding for several agricultural program, according to Senator Patty Ritchie.

“Here in New York State our hardworking farmers are the backbone of our workforce and agriculture is the cornerstone of our economy,” said Ritchie.

“I am pleased that Governor Cuomo is recognizing the important — and critical — role  agriculture plays,” she added. “His funding of agriculture in the executive budget proposal sends a message that this industry is a key part of our efforts to revitalize New York State’s economy.”

The  agriculture portion of the governor’s spending plan includes funding for the following programs:

• Pro Dairy:  $822,000

• FreshConnect Farmers Market Program: $450,000

• Farm Viability Institute:  $400,000

• Farm Family Assistance: $384,000

• New York Wine and Grape Foundation: $713,000

• Apple Growers Association: $206,000

• Future Farmers of America: $192,000

• Cornell Rabies Program, which also serves Northern New York: $50,000

• Program to  increase availability for locally grown hops to support growing craft brew industry: $40,000.

The $40,000 allocated to help increase the availability for locally grown hops builds on Ritchie’s efforts to foster the growth of New York State’s craft brewery industry, she said.

Recently, Ritchie sponsored legislation that recognizes “Farm Breweries” and cuts taxes and red tape to help create jobs and give New York an edge in this growing industry. The governor also unveiled funding for several proposals to help market New York food products, including his “Taste-NY” initiative, which will create duty-free “Taste-NY” stores across the state.

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