Priority Issues for 2017

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 2017:

NYFB 2017 State Priority Issues

NYFB 2017 National Priority Issues

2017 Policy Book

NYFB Budget Analysis - 2017 Executive Budget Proposal

State Priorities

I. Oppose unworkable farm labor mandates, while making much-needed updates and reforms to New York State labor laws and regulations and providing assistance with farm compliance

a. Oppose the omnibus farmworker labor bill and components thereof

b. Update housing allowances, tie them to costs in the community and allow them to be calculated as part of employee wages

c. Allow employees to pay their own utilities when provided housing by farm employers

d. Allow farm employees to request exemption from mandatory lunch breaks during the work day

e. Allow rent for housing provided to year-round employees by the farm to be deducted from paychecks, as long as both parties agree in writing

f. Provide funding for an agricultural workforce specialist at Cornell University

II. Enact a Refundable Investment Tax Credit for farmers

This initiative would incentivize farm investment to meet the needs of global competition in a period of very low commodity prices and weather-related crop losses.

III. Double the minimum wage tax credit for farmers starting in 2017

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.

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

V. 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

a. Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution and Abatement Program

b. Quality Assurance/Quality Control funding for CAFO planners

VI. Provide and implement an institutional preference for New York-grown food for state institutional purchasing

This change would help increase markets, and hopefully prices, for New York farms across all commodity groups.

VII. Support reform of New York’s inherent risk laws

New York is one of the very few states that does not have such protections for equine and agritourism businesses. This legislation will protect the liability of equine and agritourism operations in cases when there is no negligence on behalf of the farmer.

VIII. Support a state tax credit for donations of locally grown food by farmers to food banks

This legislation would help farmers defray the costs of picking, packing and transporting their donated product to food banks and allow more locally-produced food to be shared with those in need.