Members of the New York Senate have recently proposed a series of bills that seek to protect and expand agriculture in New York State. This legislation is coming on the heels of several farm closures in New York (particularly hard hit is the state’s dairy industry, which has experienced constant decline over the last several months). Federal legislators, like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, have made it their mission to protect the agricultural sector in New York, and this recent bill represents a bold and innovate attempt at reviving the state’s farm industry.
One of the more important bills proposed would offer tax credits to local restaurateurs who use local produce. Agricultural leaders, from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack down, have promoted local farming and community connections as a crucial way to promote and protect the agricultural industry. The proposed New York bill would offer tax credits equal to 10% of costs for produce purchased from New York farmers, branded with the “Pride of New York” label which was suggested by the state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Another bill aimed at helping local farmers would relax state restrictions on alcohol production. The proposed legislation would allow farmers to brew their own beer, after acquiring a farm brewery license from the state, provided that they use an as yet undetermined percentage of hops from their own farms.
A vote has not yet been scheduled for any of the proposed farm legislation, but state Democrats seem hopeful that it will quickly pass both houses.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer