Assemblyman Magee: With New Year Comes New Opportunities to Boost Agriculture in New York State

December 13, 2017

If you know me, you know the future of farming in our state is something that I care about very deeply. We depend on farmers for our food as well as to boost the local economy, and Iím always looking for ways to support and grow our agricultural industry. As 2017 gives way to 2018, we have successes to celebrate, but we also have more work to do.

Last month, I attended the New York Farm Bureauís annual meeting, where I had the opportunity to talk to farmers and learn about their concerns and struggles. Among the biggest challenges they face are the high cost of doing business here, as well as infrastructure issues that leave too many rural businesses unable to compete.

Iíve been working to find solutions to these and other problems our farmers face. Throughout the meeting, I heard calls for the creation of a new refundable investment tax credit that would allow farmers to keep more of their hard-earned money, help grow their businesses and better support their families. This is something I hope to make a reality. Iím also supporting the proposal to double the minimum wage tax credit for farms to $60 million to help offset the higher costs of labor because of the stateís minimum wage increase.

Further, Iím pushing to open up new markets for our farmers by looking for ways to help them afford the equipment necessary to process SNAP payments at farmers markets and continuing the Farm to School program. Additionally, to help our stateís producers increase sales, Iím advocating that a preference be given to New York grown food at state colleges, prisons and psychiatric centers.

The lack of internet access in our rural areas also disproportionately impacts the agricultural economy. As more businesses rely on their online presence, too many farmers are getting left out in the cold. For agritourism businesses, catching visitorsí attention online is pivotal. Iíll continue supporting measures to bring fast and affordable internet to rural areas so our businesses can connect with customers.

Agriculture is a key industry in New York State with its own unique challenges. I remain committed to seeing our growers flourish as we put together the next state budget and craft legislation to support this critical part of our stateís economy. As always, my door is open. If you have questions about this or any other community issue, please contact me at 315-361-4125 or at MageeW@nyassembly.gov.