Assemblyman Jones: State Budget Invests in Our Farms to Help Grow Our Economy

April 4, 2019

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) announced that the 2019-20 state budget invests in critical funding that will help North Country farmers grow their businesses. This year’s plan includes $33.2 million for agriculture across the state.

“North Country folks know better than anyone that our farms are the lifeblood of this state,” said Jones. “Hardworking farmers provide the food our families need to stay healthy and move products that fuel our economy. This year’s state budget provides key funding for programs that will help keep local agriculture thriving for years to come.”

Having run his family’s dairy farm, Jones knows firsthand how much hard work goes into the industry. To support local dairy farmers who are struggling due to declining milk prices, the state budget once again includes $1.2 million for Cornell’s PRO-DAIRY program. The program offers educational services and research for New York dairy farmers that enhance profitability.[1]

To help farmers effectively grow and promote their products, Jones helped secure $413,000 for the New York State Maple Producers Association, a not-for-profit organization that works with local maple producers to improve processing and help market maple products. The budget also includes $750,000 for the NYS Apple Growers Association, which represents over 700 commercial apple growers across the state, working to promote local apple products while communicating with retailers, handlers, consumers and processors to boost apple-based production. New York State is the nation’s second-leading apple producer, yielding 29.5 million bushels of apples annually.[2]

Further, Jones fought for $300,000 for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, a farmer-driven grants program that provides research and technical assistance for farms in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.[3] The budget also restores $600,000 to Harvest NY, which develops educational programs to increase agricultural investments, profitability and sustainability in New York State.[4]

“I’ll always fight to invest in programs that help farmers, preserve our farmlands and support innovations,” Jones said.