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Priority Issues for 2021

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.

New York Farm Bureau's Board of Directors has established the following state and national priority issues for 2021:

 

2021 State Priorities

  • Support critical funding for current agricultural animal health, promotion, research and environmental programs in the final FY 21/22 state budget.
  • Continue investment in the Nourish-NY program.
  • Invest/harmonize agricultural programs at state agricultural colleges and universities, including CALS, Morrisville, Cobleskill and Alfred.
  • Remove overtime requirement for voluntary day of rest for workers, if the employee will not work the number of hours needed to receive overtime.
  • Extend the statutorily required farm housing inspection deadline for houses with four or less employees to Jan. 1, 2022.
  • Oppose legislative pesticide prohibition or ban bills that circumvent the registration process at the Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • Support farmers in their efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change through funding of critical programs in the Environmental Protection Fund and legislative programs that support on-farm mitigation, including renewable energy.
  • Enact a state renewable fuels standard to help mitigate methane while providing a reliable low carbon fuel source.
  • Oppose efforts to further restrict the use of medically necessary preventative and therapeutic use of antibiotics.
  • Ensure continued use of veterinarian and scientifically-based animal care practices on farm.
  • Increase access to rural broadband to allow for enhanced marketing and sales, along with greater utilization of farm equipment technology.
     

2021 National Priorities

New York Farm Bureau will continue to build relationships to educate and work with members of Congress and regulatory agencies to promote policies that benefit New York farmers and rural communities.

Agricultural Labor

  • Enact legislation that helps farmers meet their short- and long-term labor needs.
    • Allows current, trained workers to stay on farms and maintain a consistent workforce to plant and harvest crops, and care for livestock.
    • Updates the H-2A program to ensure a continuous, legal workforce for all sectors of agriculture.
  • Maintain updates to H-2A rules that enhance farmers’ ability to hire the workers they need.


Climate

  • Provide voluntary, incentive-based tools and technical assistance for farmers and foresters to maximize carbon sequestration and the reduction of other greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Foster the development of private sector greenhouse gas markets.
  • Incentivize agricultural and forestry producers to prioritize and scale climate-smart practices.
  • Incentivize farmers to reduce energy consumption, increase on-farm renewable energy production. Protect our members’ ability to operate and ensure that any sustainability effort promotes economic prosperity for farmers


COVID-19

  • Work to secure prioritized access to PPE and ultimately a COVID-19 vaccine for the agricultural workforce.
  • Provide support to small meat and poultry processing plants to attain federal inspection.
  • Secure adequate federal support to maintain food production.


Infrastructure

  • Increase resources to expand rural access to broadband service.
  • Secure resources to rebuild, repair or modernize transportation infrastructure, including rural roads and bridges, ports and inland waterway locks and dams.
  • Increase federal investment in agricultural research.

 

Regulations

  • Maintain regulatory reforms achieved in recent years, including the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, National Environmental Policy Act, and Endangered Species Act Habitat Rules.
  • Work for reform of decision making and appeals related to conservation compliance or “Swampbuster” rules.
  • Continue to work for a regulatory environment that enables farmers to be productive as well as environmentally and economically sustainable.
  • Ensure proper implementation of renewable energy mandates.
  • Ensure enforcement of organic standards including those related to livestock.
  • Ensure the needs of hemp producers are met under the USDA Hemp Production Rules including testing procedures, THC levels, sampling requirements, and disposal.
  • Monitor rules and practices dealing with labeling of food and agricultural products, including milk, cell-based products and foods containing ingredients that are products of biotechnology.

 

Rural Life

  • Work for programs and policies to:
    • Expand programs to provide resources and address mental health challenges and opioid addiction, and
    • Support policies and legislation to provide stress assistance programs to farmers, increase farmer-facing training opportunities, increase awareness and reduce stigma for rural mental health issues.


Taxes

  • Secure permanent estate tax and capital gains tax law that allows family-owned farms to transfer from one generation to another.
  • Make low-income tax rates and business deductions permanent to permit farmers to keep more of their earnings and invest in their businesses.
  • Lock in tax code provisions that allow farm operations to match expenses with income, so they can manage the seasonal and cyclical nature of their businesses.

 

Trade

  • Achieve and expand trade opportunities for New York agriculture, including:
    • Engagement to join the Comprehensive & Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership agreement,
    • Maintain the China Phase 1 agreement and ensure it is implemented,
    • Continued implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, including produce plan implementation to assist fruit and vegetable growers,
    • Reduction of tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade,
    • Engagement in trade negotiations with the United Kingdom and other nations, and
    • Engagement in discussions on reform of the World Trade Organization.

 

Dairy Policy

  • Examine and review methods to restructure and modernize the current Federal Milk Marketing Order system.
  • Ensure dairy farm families across the country have a voice – and a vote – when considering how to modernize these orders.

 

Farm Policy

  •  Surface proposals for inclusion in the 2023 farm bill.