Looking to cultivate the 2018 Farm Bill, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball and several other officials visited Alfred State recently to speak with and gather feedback from constituents about the critical legislation.
The event was one of several stops along the Farm Bill Listening Tour, which provides an opportunity for the officials to engage with industry professionals and community members and develop the 2018 bill’s priorities. The tour is hosted jointly by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).
Feedback gathered during the listening tour, according to www.agriculture.ny.gov, will be provided to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to help develop New York’s Farm Bill priorities for critical funding and policy changes in the areas of agriculture, nutrition, the environment.
The Farm Bill, the website states, is an omnibus, multi-year law that governs an array of agricultural and food programs. The most recent Farm Bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014, is set to expire at the end of 2018.
Interacting with constituents were Ball; Paul McKeown, Department of Environmental Conservation natural resources supervisor for western New York; Dick Kimball, New York Farm Bureau District 1 director; and Sam Roberts, commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
Dr. Skip Sullivan provided the welcoming remarks for the event, which was attended by numerous elected officials, special guests, students, faculty, staff, and community members.
Speaking to all those gathered, Ball said, “There’s an awful lot at stake in the Farm Bill for New York and we appreciate you folks taking the time to be here and weigh in.”
For about an hour and a half, the officials listened to constituents speak about a number of important topics, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) program, which offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. Other topics included conservation and agricultural programs, the problem of the emerald ash borer, and supporting the next generation of agriculture professionals.