Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

May 16, 2008

Governor Paterson Applauds Congressional Passage of Farm Bill

Farm Bill Will Assist New York Farm & Food Priorities, New York Congressional Delegation Strongly Su

Governor David A. Paterson today applauded the passage of The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, and specifically cited the efforts of New York’s congressional delegation in getting a favorable outcome for the farm families of New York State. More commonly known as the 2008 Farm Bill, this important legislation includes increased federal funding and new farm programs that will greatly benefit New York farmers and consumers alike.

Governor Paterson wrote to members of the New York congressional delegation earlier this week, urging them to support the conference report. The House passed the joint House-Senate farm bill conference report Wednesday, 318-106, and the Senate approved it this afternoon by a vote of 81-15. Both of New York's senators and 27 of New York’s 29 House members supported the legislation.

“By supporting this measure, the members of our state’s congressional delegation have demonstrated their commitment to the citizens of New York's rural and urban communities alike,” said Governor Paterson. “Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of the hardworking farmers of this state while I was in Batavia. They expressed a myriad of concerns and explained some of the hardships they face. In many ways, this Farm Bill can help them.”

The Farm Bill makes significant farm policy reforms, improves the safety net for America’s food producers – particularly New York's dairy farmers – addresses the needs of specialty crop growers, increases funding to feed our nation’s poor, and enhances support for important environmental initiatives that protect water quality and conserve farmland.

New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Patrick Hooker said: “The New York agricultural industry should be pleased with this Farm Bill. It carefully balances and positively addresses the priorities of so many different facets of our industry, ranging from specialty and organic crops to conservation to nutrition. I commend Congress for so strongly supporting this impressive new five-year Farm Bill.”

As approved, the Farm Bill will ensure greater food security, promote renewable energy, enhance environmental protection, and increase support for specialty crop growers, organic growers, and dairy farmers. In addition, the bill dramatically increases federal funding for nutrition, conservation and renewable energy programs – all top priorities for New York. The following are specific areas of interest and benefits for New York:

    • Conservation Programs: Extends and provides $7.9 billion of new funding for popular conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, Farm Protection Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, and the Conservation Reserve Program.
    • Dairy Industry Assistance: Strengthens the existing safety net for dairy farmers by increasing the differential for the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) trigger price to 45%, increasing the eligible pounds of milk to nearly 3 million, and ties the price of feed to MILC’s trigger price in difficult financial times.
    • Nutrition Programs: Invests $10.4 billion, providing needed funding for food banks, and improving and expanding access to the food stamp program by reforming benefit rules to cover rising food costs.
    • Renewable Energy: Invests an additional $1 billion in renewable energy research, development and production; and encourages a transition from corn-based ethanol to cellulosic ethanol by reducing the tax credit for corn ethanol and increasing the credit for cellulosic ethanol production.
    • Specialty & Organic Crops: Devotes $1.3 billion in funding for organic agriculture, fruit and vegetable programs and local food networks; and includes a new title dedicated to the needs of specialty crops and organic agriculture.

2008 Press Releases