New York Farm Bureau Hosts Successful Taste of NY Reception and Lobby Day

New York Farm Bureau’s popular Taste of NY Reception was a big success as more than 200 farmers came together this week to showcase the best of what they grow and produce in the state.

The annual event and Lobby Day held March 5-6, 2018, featured more than 80 booths at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. County Farm Bureaus, agricultural organizations and partners each gave out samples of local food and beverage products that highlight the diversity of New York agriculture. Attendees included New York Senators and Assembly members, agency leaders and staff.  Hundreds of people turned out to enjoy the event, and more importantly, connect with farmers on the issues important to Farm Bureau members.

The Taste of NY Reception followed an Issues Forum that featured the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets, Richard Ball, Department of Labor Commissioner, Roberta Reardon and Julie Tighe, Chief of Staff for the Department of Environmental Conservation. They answered farmers’ questions and carried on a dialogue over their departments’ initiatives and regulations.

The next day was Lobby Day for all the farmers in attendance. Members of each county Farm Bureau visited the offices of their State Senators and Assembly members as well as their adopted lawmakers from New York City. They advocated for Farm Bureau’s priority issues that include important budget funding for a myriad of agricultural research, promotion and marketing programs. Other priorities include the doubling of the minimum wage employee tax credit, funding to support Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences capital and faculty seed funds, and increasing the state’s lunch reimbursement rate for school districts that purchase 30% of New York grown, produced and processed food.

New York Farm Bureau also met with key leaders including Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Speaker Carl Heastie’s office, Senate Finance Chair Cathy Young and the chairs of the Agriculture Committees, Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Bill Magee.

“At a time when the farm economy is struggling, it is important for farmers to tell their stories to their lawmakers. It’s imperative that we have policies in place that reduce the cost of doing business and invest in agriculture, which is essential to the rural economy and the people of our state. I would like to thank all of our members who took time away from their farms to support this annual event. Farm Bureau also appreciates the lawmakers who sat down with our members to get a better understanding of the priority issues facing farming today,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.