Manktelow Announces Food Insecurity, Farm Resiliency and Rural Poverty Initiative

Assemblyman Brian Manktelow (R,C,I-Lyons) is pleased to join Assemblyman Chris Tague (R-Schoharie) and his Assembly Minority Colleagues in announcing the “Food Insecurity, Farm Resiliency and Rural Poverty Initiative.” The purpose of this initiative is to help those in the agriculture industry and the general public in a variety of ways, like connecting farmers with a surplus of product with food banks to help ensure such valuable products don’t go to waste and instead go to families in need. It also provides farmers with the grants and regulatory relief necessary to help them expand and sustain their operations.

“As we near the year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York, many industries and families continue to struggle to stay afloat,” said Manktelow. “With this initiative we help both those who are struggling to put food on their tables and the farmers who are struggling to find a demand for their products. This package was created after countless conversations with those in the agricultural industry over the past two years, so it has vital information from both before and after COVID-19 came to our state. This will help us both during and after the pandemic in helping our agricultural industry. As we have said time and time again, businesses are suffering, and it is crucial we provide relief in order to help bring New Yorkers out of this pandemic.”

The largest proposal in the initiative is the Permanent Agricultural Purchasing Assistance Program. This proposal would assign $10 million on an annual basis between the 10 regional food banks in New York to allow them to purchase meat, dairy products and produce from farmers in New York. It would also allow for an additional $20 million within the Aid to Localities budget for the program to be expanded in case of a statewide emergency. Food banks would also receive a one-time $6 million grant, along with an annual $500,000 grant to develop larger storage facilities and increase cold storage facilities.

“Another thing we aim to change is the lack of meat and dairy processing facilities in New York. To address this, we propose creating the Commercial Meat and Dairy Processing Incentive Program to support the state buying land to build processing facilities to be used by private meat and dairy processors. It would also create a Blue-Ribbon Commission to study the business and regulatory environment to see how we can make New York more desirable and profitable for more of these processors to come to the state.”

Another proposal in the initiative is to restore the New Farmers Grant Program to help new farmers start their businesses while also helping already established farmers by providing grants up to $50,000 to those farmers who have been in the agriculture industry for over 10 years.