New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has begun a statewide tour to seek farmers’ input for a new Farm Bill. In particular, Gillibrand wants to ensure that the bill strengthens New York agricultural production. â€œI want to make sure that the next Farm Bill is tailor-made for New York,â€ she said.
Gillibrand’s biggest concerns in the new Farm Bill will be providing farmers with adequate access to financing, overhauling milk pricing programs, expanding agricultural markets, and investing in clean, renewable energy sources. Gillibrand plans to spend the next few months crisscrossing New York and holding listening sessions to determine which aspects of the 2008 Farm Bill have been successful and which need to be overhauled.
One of the many changes Gillibrand has supported is overhauling milk pricing, a system that currently sees farmers paying more to produce their products than they make by selling them. Gillibrand has introduced legislation that would increase MILC, Milk Income Loss Contract, payments from 45 percent to 90 percent. She has also introduced legislation that would tie MILC payments to inflation.
Gillibrand has repeatedly insisted that New York agriculture is an economic boon for both the state and federal economy. New York agriculture contributes $4 billion to the state’s economy and could significantly benefit from a new Farm Bill.
New York is home to the hardest working farm families and the finest locally-grown produce in the world,” Gillibrand has said, “but outdated regulations and a bad economy are hurting our farmers and farming communities across the state. We need to make sure the next Farm bill is a good deal for New York.”
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