Assembly GOP pushes legislation to help farmers, reduce food insecurity
Paul Kirby is reporting for the Daily Freeman Chris Tague is one of a group of Assembly Republicans to propose a 15-bill package intended to help farmers and people suffering food insecurity. The Food Insecurity, Farm Resiliency and Rural Poverty Initiative, would connect farmers with an excess of product to food banks and also provide farmers with grants and “regulatory relief to help them expand and sustain their operations,” said Tague. The initiative’s largest proposal, the Permanent Agricultural Purchasing Assistance Program, would allocate a total of $10 million every year to the state’s 10 regional food banks to allow them to buy meat, dairy, and produce from New York farmers. An additional appropriation of $20 million would be created within the state's Aid to Localities budget to allow the program to expand in the case of statewide emergencies, Tague said. The legislative package also would create the Commercial Meat and Dairy Processing Incentive Program, to support efforts by the state to buy land and build processing facilities to be used by private meat and or dairy processors. The Food Insecurity Initiative also would help new farmers start up operations by restoring the New Farmers Grant Program, as well as help established farms with grants of up to $50,000 for those that have been in business for over 10 years. “This comprehensive package of legislation is the product of farmers, agricultural entrepreneurs, and members of nonprofit and community organizations coming together to connect the dots between food banks and our agricultural industry to assist farmers ... ,” said Tague. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.