New York's on-time state budget for 2011-12 restores much of last year's funding and adds $1.5 million. The key was that many ag programs foster rural economic development and create jobs.
"Given the current economic environment, these restorations should be considered a major success story," contends Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau and a dairy farmer from Elba, N.Y. Ag organizations lobbied intensively for critical budget restorations. Much thanks is owed to Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Bill Magee, the respective ag committee chairs in each house, for their leadership, he adds.
• Programs that were saved include Integrated Pest Management, Pro-Dairy, New York FarmNet, and the New York Farm Viability Institute, as well as several promotion and agricultural education programs and others are crucial to the future success of farm families throughout Upstate New York and the farm towns of Long Island.
• Funding for the New York State Maple Producers Association and North County Ag Development Program was restored after being zeroed out last year.
• New York Apple Association and the New York Wine & Grape Foundation programs were also saved, allowing for continued fostering of growth for those industries by increasing consumer demand.
• Re-Charge NY will expand low-cost power to businesses, including farms.
•The budget also funded regional economic development councils that are expected to include stakeholders in agriculture and food processing.