Priority Issues for 2018

New York Farm Bureau works every day to advocate for agricultural industry and our rural communities.

We identify key issues that directly and indirectly impact agriculture through a structured, grassroots policy development process that reflects the collective interests of our members. These policies determine the focus of our advocacy discussion and action for the year ahead.

The New York Farm Bureau Board of Directors has established the following state and national Priority Issues for 2018:

2018 Priority Issues

2018-2019 Executive Budget Analysis

2018 Policy Book

2018 National Priority Issues

State Priorities

·         Support funding for critical food safety, animal health and agricultural promotion and economic development programs in the Agriculture and Markets budget

 

·         Double the minimum wage tax credit for farmers starting in 2018

Increasing the agricultural minimum wage tax credit will help offset increased labor costs on farms and help them better compete with farms in neighboring states

 

 

Taxable Year

Current Tax Credit/ Employee

Proposed Tax Credit for FY 18-19

2018

$300

$600

2019

$500

$800

2020

$400

$1,000

2021

$600

$1,200

 

·         Support for funding of Environmental Protection Fund programs that provide cost-sharing of critical farm water quality and farmland protection projects that allow farms to reinvest in their farm business

 

·         Cornell CALS Faculty Seed Fund ($2 million)

Seed funding will help to pave the way to attracting much needed faculty and research at CALS

 

·         Cornell CALS Capital Fund ($3 million)

This funding will provide the opportunity to update critical infrastructure at CALS to ensure continuing research and extension work vital to New York’s agricultural products

 

·         Oppose unworkable farm labor mandates and make much needed updates and reforms to New York State labor laws and regulations.

 

a.      Oppose the farm worker labor omnibus legislation and components thereof

b.      Update housing payroll allowances and peg annual increases to inflation

c.       Remove the requirement that farm employers pay unemployment insurance on H2A workers

d.      Extend the time for responding to unemployment insurance requests for information from 7 to14 days

 

·         Transfer farm tax assessment functions from the Department of Taxation and Finance to the Department of Agriculture and Markets

 

·         Increase school meal reimbursements to incentivize the purchase of fresh and minimally processed local food 

 

·         Allow for the registration of UTV’s for legal travel on roads from farm to field

 

·         Increase funding for tick-borne disease enhanced detections and vaccine development

 

·         Support the removal of an acreage requirement for farms in the agricultural assessment program as long as they meet income eligibility requirements

 

National Priorities

 

Farm Policy

·         Work to maintain and improve the farm safety net and other programs in the Farm Bill that are vital to New York farmers, consumers, rural development and the environment. Specifically;

o   Improving the safety net program for dairy farmers

o   Making the Whole Farm Revenue Protection Program workable for highly diversified specialty crop farmers

o   Maintaining cost-share conservation programs to help farmers meet regulatory requirements

o   We oppose the separation of the nutrition programs from the Farm Bill

o   Removing the cap on livestock safety net programs

 

Agricultural Immigration Reform

·           End the immigration stalemate and pass reform legislation that addresses short- and long-term farm labor needs. Reform should allow for current, trained workers to stay on farms and maintain a consistent workforce to plant and harvest crops, and care for livestock. It should also replace the H2A program with a new guest worker visa program that ensures a continuous, legal workforce in the future for all sectors of agriculture, including dairy.

·           Until this is completed:

o   Work with Congress to minimize negative impacts of farm labor shortages.

o   Oppose a mandatory E-Verify program unless and until a new comprehensive agricultural guestworker program is in place to provide farmers with workforce security.

 

Regulatory Reform

·         The regulatory process should be transparent, fact-based, respects the will of Congress and observes the separation of powers in the U.S. Constitution.

  • Continue to oppose expanded federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act and support measures to prevent EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers from implementing the rule defining of “Waters of the U.S.”.

·         Work with Congress and agencies to ensure that the roll-out of several recently enacted regulations, including but not limited to Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Worker Protection Safety Act (WPS), and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)/ Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) , are practical while meeting Congress’s original intent.

 

Trade

  • Continue to support the next generation of trade negotiations that remove barriers to trade and provide expanded markets for U.S. farmers.
  • Ensure that changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) do not harm agriculture’s current market access while addressing commodity specific barriers to trade.
  • Continue to oppose limitations on the use of geographic indicators. Restricting geographical names for foods would inhibit the marketability and competitiveness of U.S. food products.

 

Of Continued Importance:

 

Infrastructure

·         Work for greater investment in rural and agricultural infrastructure including broadband Internet access, rural roads and bridges, and inland waterway locks and dams, sea ports and agricultural research.

 

Tax Reform

·         Monitor the implementation of any changes to the 2017 Tax Reform Law to ensure that it treats agricultural business structures in a fair manner

 

Energy

·         Ensure policy that enhances the availability and affordability of energy for farmers and encourages the growth of renewable energy production.