By MARK WOODSON
Agriculture is the heart of the local economy for communities in counties from Suffolk to St. Lawrence and Westchester to Wyoming. The 2016-2017 New York State budget includes funding that supports several farming initiatives, the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) reported today.
The enacted budget increased funding for the Environmental Protection Fun (EPF) from $123 million to $300 million. It also included a one-time increase of $120 million from bank settlement funds to support capital projects within the EPF.
“The agriculture industry remains a top contributor to the New York State economy, providing critical jobs, revenues, and food for our state and beyond,” said Doug Berwanger, chair of the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors and chair of the NYSAC standing committee on agriculture. “Unfortunately, our agriculture and food system is not always recognized as the significant economic engine that it is. The funding for farmland protection and agriculture assistance is a big step in the right direction, and our farming communities are grateful to state lawmakers for including it in this year’s state budget.”
The final budget adds $11 million for certain agricultural local assistance programs.
“Our county leaders know that agriculture keeps their economic engines running, and we have a long tradition of supporting farms and farmers. By providing funding to support our state’s agriculture and local producers, state lawmakers have demonstrated their dedication to preserve, protect, and support this industry in our local economies,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario.
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