Priority Issues for 2019

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 2019:

2019 Priority Issues

2019-2020 Executive Budget Analysis

2019 State Policy Book

2019 National Policy Book

2019 National Priority Issues

 

State Priorities

  • Support critical funding for current agricultural animal health, promotion, research and environmental programs in the final FY 19/20 budget.
  • Strong opposition to unworkable employer mandates in New York State.
  • Ensure staff funding for critical positions at the Department of Agriculture and Markets.
  • Fund farm tire cost-share disposal (from DEC Part 360 regulations) through the EPF.
  • Expand the Farm Workforce Retention Tax Credit to Christmas tree, maple, farm wineries and cideries and increase overall funding.
  • Remove unemployment insurance requirements for H-2A workers.
  • Amend General Municipal Law 247 to allow farms with conservation easements to construct necessary farm buildings and structures.
  • Support training for police and district attorneys on animal cruelty laws pursuant to current law.
  • Funding for research and eradication of tick-borne illnesses.
     

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
  • 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 update or replace the H2A program with a guest worker visa program that ensures a continuous, legal workforce in the future for all sectors of agriculture, including dairy.
Infrastructure
  • Work for greater investment in rural and agricultural infrastructure including rural roads and bridges, and inland waterway locks and dams, seaports and agricultural research.
  • Continue to support expansion of rural broadband efforts and appropriations so that more farmers and rural businesses have access to quality internet services.
Trade
  •  Defend and expand trade opportunities for New York agriculture through existing and new trade agreements.
  •  Continue to support the next generation of trade negotiations that remove barriers to trade and provide expanded markets for New York farmers.
  •  Ensure a continued trade agreement with neighboring countries through the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Regulatory Reform
  • Work for reform of the rulemaking process to ensure that federal rules are supported by science and created in a transparent manner.
  • Idenify specific regulations and regulatory opportunities that improve the ability of New York farmers to remain productive and competitive.
    • Continue to monitor the Clean Water Act and efforts by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers in implementing the new Clean Water Rule.
    • Work with Congress and agencies to ensure that the roll-out of several recently enacted regulations including but not limited to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Worker Protection Safety Act (WPS), are practical while meeting Congress’s original intent.
Of Continued Importance:

These items are monitored for development that either present opportunities or need for increased planning, collaboration and action.

Farm Policy
  • Monitor implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill.
  • Ensure that Farm Bill programs serve the needs of New York’s farmers, consumers, and rural communities.
Animal Agriculture
  • Increase efforts to defend animal agriculture production and work for policies to enhance animal agriculture producers’ productivity and profitability, such as transportation issues unique to livestock and poultry production, aquaculture and apiculture.
Energy
  • Ensure policy that enhances the availability and affordability of energy for farmers and encourages the growth of renewable energy production.
  • Monitor climate legislation to ensure it provides support to farmers faced with unpredictable weather patterns yet does not unduly burden or restrict agriculture. 
Labeling
  • Monitor rules and practices dealing with labeling of food and agricultural products, including milk and milk substitutes, cell-based meat and foods containing ingredients that are products of biotechnology.
Mental Health
  • Promote resources for farmers and their families, who are struggling with substance addiction, depression and other mental health challenges.
  • Ensure adequate funding for rural health and community programs.
Taxes
  • Continue working to eliminate the estate tax and promote other tax policies that benefit farmers.