County-Led Farming Task Force Promotes Smarter Farm Policies

County-Led Farming Task Force Promotes Smarter Farm Policies 

A Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future of Farming in New York State, made up of county leaders from across the state who are also farmers or who work in the farming industry, held its second meeting at the Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls to discuss a report that will be submitted to county leaders at the New York State Associate of Counties (NYSAC) Fall Seminar. The report will encourage the state and federal government to address the challenges facing the state’s farming and agribusiness industry.
 
Representing Broome County at the meeting was Task Force member and 9th District Broome County Legislator, Steve Herz. Herz, who represents eastern Broome County and operates a farm in Windsor said, “Too many of our local farms are struggling to make ends meet because of antiquated federal and state policies that make farming in New York far more difficult than it needs to be. I requested to serve on this committee so that Broome County has a voice in developing a comprehensive plan to preserve, promote and protect our agricultural industry.” 
Recommendations made by the Task Force include:
 
·       Developing and supporting policy that is farm-size neutral and focuses on overall farm profitability;
·       Requiring more accurate “supply and demand” reporting for all dairy products in this country to become less reliant on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to value milk products;
·       Creating and funding an agricultural economic development program that is driven by a set of metrics that recognize the overall wealth creation within a community rather than just the overall job creation count;
·       Supporting proper labeling of products to promote enhanced consumer confidence, such as Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and New York’s Pride of New York Program;
·       Supporting programs that assist farmers in their ongoing efforts to be stewards of soil and water resources;
·       Incentivizing counties to develop their own farmland protection programs to leverage state funds and play a more direct role in protecting farmland for future generations.
 
The Task Force will present its report and recommendations to the county delegation at the NYSAC Fall Seminar held in Western New York from September 15-17.
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08/19/2010 - 5:07pm