State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball is encouraging all New Yorkers to celebrate National Agriculture Week this week. Through March 23, a number of agricultural organizations, including the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and New York Farm Bureau, will be raising awareness about New York’s farmers and the importance of agriculture to the State’s economy and its communities.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a proclamation <https://agriculture.ny.gov/press/AgricultureDay-2018.pdf> today also recognizing March 20 as National Agriculture Day in New York State, declaring, “we recognize how fundamentally important the agriculture industry is to our daily sustenance and our economy and, as New York State’s farmers take great pride in providing an abundance of quality food and fiber to the families of this state as well as people worldwide, we respect the role of agriculture and look forward to its continued growth, prosperity and success in the future.”
Commissioner Ball said, “New York has a tremendous agricultural community, with producers who exemplify innovation and resiliency and produce some of the world’s best food and beverages. This week and the entire month of March present us with a special opportunity to reflect on the impact New York agriculture and its food industries have on the state’s economy, its job growth, and the important role it plays in the health and well-being of our communities.”
New York is an agricultural leader in the United States. About 20% of New York State’s land area, or more than 7 million acres, is farmland. The State’s nearly 36,000 farms and are among the nation’s top producers of more than 30 commodities, ranking second in the production of apples, snap beans and maple syrup, and third in cabbage, grapes and dairy, which is largest segment of the State’s agricultural sector. New York’s agricultural industry is far reaching and includes the equine, Christmas tree, and horticulture industries. It is responsible for billions of dollars in sales each year with an even greater economic impact.
The Department, under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, is working to help grow the agricultural industry and strengthen connections between New York’s producers and consumers. The Department has brought more local foods to students through programs like Farm-to-School, and is helping farmers reach more customers through marketing programs, such as Taste NY and NYS Grown & Certified. It has increased its focus on growing the State’s future ag leaders, with more funding dedicated to agricultural education than ever before. Its inspectors continue the important work of ensuring the safety of the state’s food supply, and protecting the environment, plant industry and the State’s livestock. In addition, the Department is investing in emerging sectors, like the craft beverage and industrial hemp industries, providing another option for New York’s farmers to diversify their crops.
Earlier this month, the Department also joined New York Farm Bureau to kick off their National Ag Month celebration, a first for New York, and expand the opportunity for education about agriculture. Agricultural leaders from across the State came together for the event that recognized agriculture and what it means to farm families, rural communities, and consumers across the state.
David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President, said, “New York is an agricultural state. Our farmers lead the way in many aspects of production, stewardship and quality, and it is important to take time this week to recognize the contributions family farms make to their communities. As a farmer it is especially nice to have our work acknowledged during a stressful economic time for some of us. New York Farm Bureau celebrates all that farmers do and gives thanks to more than 35,000 farmers across New York during National Agriculture Week.”
Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, said, “The farming community in New York is one of a kind, yielding enormous impacts across sustainability, food, nutrition and quality of life for New Yorkers. Our faculty, staff, students and extension specialists are committed to helping our great farmers succeed. With the continuing support of Governor Cuomo, the Legislature and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, we have made great progress, but I firmly believe the best is yet to come.”
Derek Hill, NY FFA Director, said, “The opening line in the FFA Creed is, ‘I believe in the future of agriculture,’ this could not be more accurate than it is today. There are so many opportunities in agriculture that our youth can take advantage of and many do not even know they exist. These are high-paying jobs in agricultural engineering, business, food systems and many others. New York FFA is proud to stand with our agricultural leaders to inform all of our citizens of these opportunities and to recognize National Agriculture Week in New York!”