Agriculture Chairs Provide Highlights from State Budget

Continues essential funding and builds on future needs

Albany, NY – Legislative Agriculture Chairs, Senator Michelle Hinchey and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, announced details for agriculture in the recently passed state budget for FY’25. The budget restores all cuts initially proposed by the Executive and includes additional supports for agricultural resiliency, research and development, education and outreach, and marketing efforts. The budget continues the historic state investment in this sector over the last several years.

Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, said, “I’m very proud of the work we have done together on behalf of NY agriculture. The importance of agriculture is something we can all agree on, regardless of party or geographic location. Supporting NY’s farm economy remains a top priority of mine, with significant resources going to agricultural resiliency, along with world-class research. When we support farms, we support everyone in the supply chain, including the consumer who values the quality of what is produced in NYS.”

Senator Michelle Hinchey, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “Agriculture can give us what no other industry can when it comes to sustainably feeding our communities – it’s an industry both fundamental to our daily lives and a pillar of New York’s economy. I’m proud to have delivered an agriculture budget that builds on our record of bolstering every facet of New York’s ag industry and supporting the skilled farmers and farmworkers who work tirelessly to keep our food supply safe and our lands healthy. These investments will help us build a more equitable, local food system while ensuring we are taking steps to put New York in a strong position to lead on food production, education, research, and development both today and decades into the future.”

One of the major highlights in the FY’25 Agriculture Budget is the inclusion of $19.5M to complete the rehabilitation and expansion of Cornell’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. With this funding, Cornell will be able to boost their testing capabilities to keep New York’s livestock and food supply safe. With the rise of avian influenza and the subsequent threat to dairy cows, increased and timely testing is critical.

The NYS Dairy Farm Modernization Grant Program administered by Farm and Food Growth Fund Inc. received $24M. With this funding, grants will be available to farms and agricultural marketing cooperatives to be used to help expand on-farm milk storage capacity, improve efficiencies, invest in milk transfer systems, cooling technologies, and other opportunities for dairy farmers to transport or store their products.

An increase of $1M was included for the NY Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAM) to continue the On-Farm Health and Safety Program for farmers and farmworkers administered by Basset Hospital. Also included is $1.5M in funding for FarmNet, a Cornell-run program that provides critical mental health support and financial counseling for farmers.

Key programs for fighting the climate crisis through agriculture were funded in the FY’25 Budget through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). This includes a restoration of $21M for Farmland Protection along with an inclusion of $15.25M for Climate Resilient Farms to promote soil health and climate resiliency. The EPF also included $19.5M for agricultural non-point source pollution controls and $17.25M for Soil & Water Conservation Districts. The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program also saw a significant increase in funding in an effort to deal with changing pest threats caused by climate change and identify alternative pest control methods beyond the use of neonics.

The final budget also restored cuts to vital Cornell programs that conduct important research into key agricultural areas such as vegetable, maple, hops, barley, and avian diseases, along with the Cattle Health Assurance Program. The Legislature also increased funding for the NYS Farm Viability Institute to support farmer-driven research projects.

Agricultural education and outreach programs saw restorations and funding increases across important legacy programs such as FFA, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Pro-dairy, and Pro-livestock. Additionally, funding was included for the Cornell Farm Labor Specialist and the Cornell Small Farms Program, which assist farmers with labor laws and regulations and provide other management support services and training.

The budget also sustained important funding to support a new and diverse generation of New York farmers, with a restoration of funding for the Beginning Farmers Grant Program ($1M) and the Economically and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers Grant Program ($1M) along with $700K for American Farmland Trust Farmland for a New Generation Regional Navigators.

Finally, the budget continued funding for many farm commodity trade associations for education and marketing purposes, including apples, wine and grape, cider, brewers, and distillers, along with sheep and hops. The budget also included other marketing support for farmers, including increased funding for the NYS Grown and Certified program, Grow NYC, and Nourish NY, and for the first time, funding to assist fish and shellfish operators with storage and marketing grants.