In June, National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, we celebrate all the great health and wellness benefits of our state’s delicious produce. New York continues to have one of the most prolific agriculture industries in the U.S., and I am amazed by the variety of incredible products they deliver to families across the state and nation each year.
It’s no secret that fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part of our daily diets. They have tons of vitamins and minerals, are a great source of fiber and are naturally low fat. And while there is no shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables produced in New York, one in particular, our apple industry, is especially noteworthy.
According to information from Apples from New York, our state is the second-largest apple producer in the U.S. and generates an average of 29.5 million bushels each year. These apples help feed our school children, are a staple of the state’s booming cider industry and are used in cooking and baking products at home and commercially.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are not only important from a consumer standpoint, but they are also a tremendous part of our state and local economies. Farms that harvest these commodities support jobs across New York, bring in valuable tourism and tax revenue and are an irreplaceable part of our beverage and restaurant industries. It is critical we support these farms in every way we can.
Unfortunately, New York farmers are facing some unprecedented challenges as inflation has soared to historic heights. One local farm in my district has seen prices for necessities like fertilizer double and diesel fuel triple. That is outrageous. Without relief, many of these family farms are going to have increasingly hard times making ends meet. Layoffs are equal parts inevitable and unacceptable, creating an unsustainable paradox. Add in the risk of additional overtime costs proposed by the governor, and these farms are facing true existential threats.
As we celebrate our state’s farm industry, I will continue to fight for their interests in the Legislature. We need these farms thriving. This month, join me in supporting New York farmers and helping them sustain the quality products and services they deliver us every day.