Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) has been named to the New York Farm Bureau’s “Circle of Friends.” The “Circle of Friends” award is given annually to state lawmakers who have distinguished themselves as supporters of the New York Farm Bureau and agricultural initiatives across the state.
“While it’s an honor to be on the Farm Bureau’s list, I’m simply working to make sure that our farmers will not only keep growing; but see their operations thrive so that they can improve the quality of life for their families,” Assemblymember Santabarbara said.
Agriculture is a large part of the economy in New York State, particularly locally. According to the New York State Department of Agriculture in Markets, in 2010, almost a quarter of the state’s 7 million acres are used by farmers and agricultural production returned close to $4.7 billion to the farm economy, Assemblyman Santabarbara noted.
This legislative session, Santabarbara supported numerous initiatives designed to help area farmers with issues such as property values, product marketing and profitability. Among legislation passed by both houses of the state legislature include:
- A.165 - Reduces the property tax cap from 10% to 2% on annual agriculture assessment value increases (passed both houses)
- A.1512 - Allows farm wineries to sell wine at licensed road side farm markets located within 20 miles (Chap. 355 of 2013)
- A.2700 - Promotes the purchase of New York farm products by senior centers and other institutions for the aging (passed both houses)
- A.3802 - Establishes the “Shop: Pride of NY” program so that sellers of food made in New York State can access promotional materials, thus increasing their exposure (passed both houses)
- A.8047 - Creates a license for farm cideries to produce New York State cider (passed both houses)
This year’s state budget was also good news for farmers, as it provided funding for vital agricultural programs across the state and in the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley, including the New York State Farm Viability Institute ($1.5 million), New York State Apple Growers Association ($1 million), Dairy Profit Teams ($370,000) and the Maple Producers Association ($125,000). The state budget also created the Market-NY program to help promote products grown in New York State.