Senate Passes Legislation to Strengthen New York’s Agriculture Industry

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Agricultural Labor Retention Credit Increase: This bill, S3502A sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey, increases the amount of the farm labor retention credit from $600 to $1,200 per farm employee for the 2021 to 2025 tax years.

New York State Food Products: This bill, S6808Asponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey, aims to increase the market for New York’s agricultural industry products by setting goals for local food sourcing by state agencies and facilities.

Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Act: This bill, S4082, sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey, expands eligibility for New York State’s Young Farmer Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program. This bill removes the requirement that the eligible person have completed a university degree within the last two years and expands eligibility to farmers who have been producing agricultural products for less than ten years.

The one-stop agricultural hotline: This bill, S4072, sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey, is setting up an agricultural hotline, with help from the Cornell Cooperative Extension. The helpline provides information on all aspects of farming, including tax credit programs, loans for beginning farmers and sustainable practices.

The Office of Urban Agriculture: This bill, S8059A, sponsored by Senator Jamaal Bailey, establishes the Office of Urban Agriculture to assist and promote different forms of urban agriculture across the state. The bill also requires the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets to convene an urban agriculture task force to develop ways to encourage and develop urban agriculture to bridge the gap between businesses. urban agriculture and urban food insecurity.

Local products for schools: This bill, S3974sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy, makes it easier for schools to source a variety of local agricultural products from their food services.

Products made in the state: This bill, S2199sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy, directs the Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop and facilitate regional farmers’ markets to promote the direct marketing of agricultural produce to large buyers.

Agrivoltaic in agricultural education: This bill, S7861, sponsored by Senator Rachel May, calls on the Department of Agriculture and Markets to provide guidance and educational materials on the benefits of co-locating solar energy systems on active farmland for agricultural production. This bill also requires the department to provide a booth at the state fair that will help educate the public about agrivoltaics in agriculture.

Local Food, Families and Jobs Act: This bill, S549Bsponsored by Senator James Sanders Jr., creates the New York State Council on Food Policy to develop state food policies with the goal of ensuring that all New Yorkers are able to eat healthy and to avoid food insecurity while consuming as many New York-grown foods as possible.

Farmers Markets in State Parks: This bill, S5006, sponsored by Senator Jose Serrano, allows farmers’ markets in national and local parks. This bill will increase access to locally grown food products.

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