April 18, 2020
From Assemblyman Phil Palmesano:
This week, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) and his Assembly Republican colleagues sent a letter to the governor and Senate and Assembly leaders seeking much-needed state relief for the state’s agricultural industry. Farmers across the state are finding it immensely challenging to keep their farms operating as the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has cut demand for their products and slashed their revenues.
“The men and women who work tirelessly every day to feed our state and our nation deserve our assistance during this unprecedented crisis. Recently adopted policies advanced by the administration and Assembly and Senate Democrat Majorities have increased labor costs and imposed costly mandates and burdensome regulations on our family farms. These policies put our family farms in a vulnerable position even before this crisis.We need to take action to help our farmers get through this challenging time,” said Palmesano.
Highlights from the Assembly Minority’s proposal include:
-Suspending DMV registration requirements for agricultural vehicles.
-Eliminating tolls, hauling permits and highway use fees for vehicles transporting agricultural products.
-Suspending the 60-hour overtime threshold and the 24-hour rest requirement for farm laborers for one year.
-Extending the Milk Producers Security Fund.
-Allocating new federal stimulus funds to Cornell Cooperative Extensions who can assist in emergency service delivery.
-Allocating new federal stimulus funds to expand rural broadband.
-Providing state-funded vouchers for food banks to purchase agricultural products from local producers.
Efforts to promote state assistance come on the heels of Palmesano and his colleagues writing President Trump and top administration officials earlier this week seeking emergency federal aid for our state’s farm families.
“With 98 percent of farms in New York state being family owned, we should be working together to pursue every avenue we can to help farm families get through this crisis,” said Palmesano.