Priority Issues for 2016
• Strong opposition to any minimum wage increase or unworkable employer mandates in New York State
• Support critical funding for current agricultural animal health, promotion and research in the final 16/17 state budget, including:
• Transfer farm assessment functions from the Department of Taxation and Finance to the Department of Agriculture and Markets
• Ensure parity for road and bridge funding between upstate and downstate New York
• Ensure a fair and effective implementation of the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) process
Food Security and Safety
•Monitor implementation of FDA’s series of food safety rules, particularly those dealing with produce and animal feed, balance the compliance burden with an actual public health benefit.
•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.”.
•Update the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) wetland determination process by allowing third party accredited individuals to complete determinations as well as NRCS staff. This will help to reduce the amount of time farmers have to wait to have a determination completed.
•Improve the federal regulatory process. Farmers need a regulatory system that is fair, and that takes economic impacts of regulation into account and does not hinder a farmer’s ability to do business.
•Support legislation which would continue the science-based regulatory process for biotechnology, inform consumers, provide consistency and oppose mandatory labeling requirements of foods containing genetically engineered products. Broad or individual state labeling requirements are not based on science and undermine the public’s trust in the safe and nutritious food our farmers grow, without balancing the benefits that GMOs provide to our environment, and to hungry populations worldwide.
•Continue to support the next generation of trade negotiations that remove unscientific barriers to trade and provide opportunities for U.S. farmers, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with the European Union.
•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.
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: