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Governor Outlines Proposals to Boost NY Dairy and Ag Industries


During her State of the State address this week, Governor Kathy Hochul outlines several major proposals to provide a boost to New York’s dairy and agricultural industry, workforce development programs and youth leadership and education opportunities as part of the 2024 State of the State. The Governor unveiled plans of cross-cutting initiatives that will strengthen the industry and promote a more resilient future for our agriculture, food, and forestry sectors.

“New York’s agriculture industry is a key part of our economy, our communities and our way of life,” Governor Hochul said. “As the first governor from upstate New York in nearly a century, I know first-hand how critical this sector is. I’m committed to supporting the growth of agriculture and food production and am continuing to focus on policies and investments that support our farmers.”

Bolstering New York’s Dairy Industry

As part of the 2024 State of the State Governor Hochul has proposed $34 million in capital funding over two years for on-farm fluid milk storage technologies and processing infrastructure to mitigate transportation issues during periods of intense winter weather and road closures, which will improve dairy supply chain efficiency and avoid raw milk dumping related to emergency events.

The State is also committed to assisting its farmers to mitigate the impacts of climate change and reduce their carbon footprint, which is a critical component of both nutrient management and water quality goals. Governor Hochul will commit $21 million to a new Alternative Waste Management and Enhanced Precision Feed Program that will further the mitigation of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, provide opportunities to sequester carbon, and scale assistance to meet unmet farmer demands.

Governor Hochul will also direct key investments into the Eastern Finger Lakes Coalition of Soil and Water Conservation Districts to build professional capacity and accelerate agricultural and resiliency-related projects on farms of all types. This will also include support for farmers to invest in more cover crops, improve culverts to reduce runoff, and other investments to improve soil health and reduce water quality impairments in the region.

One-Stop Shop for our Agricultural Workforce

As agricultural employers and employees navigate a changing work landscape, Governor Hochul’s 2024 State of the State proposes a full suite of tools, including office hours to take questions, webinars for information exchange, a web page for accepting questions and presenting information, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), hotline information, and additional resources to be created and managed by Cornell University’s Agricultural Workforce Development Program. This effort will be supported by New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Public Employee Relations Board, and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Promoting a One-Health Approach

A collaborative One Health approach can reduce threats to the human-animal-environment interface through activities like disease detection and prevention, food safety education, and veterinary care optimization. To ensure New York remains on the forefront of controlling cross-sector public and animal health threats, Governor Hochul will introduce a diverse package of projects and programs, including a collaborative veterinary workforce program between Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and SUNY campuses; increased engagement with the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Advisory Board; the launch of a Veterinary Xylazine Diversion Education Program to prevent xylazine from being diverted from legitimate veterinary uses; an appropriated $1 million increase to support the operating budget of the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health; adjustments to reimbursement and fee structures for existing on-farm animal health testing programs and the creation of a new animal health testing program; the establishment of a Group GAP food safety certification training program; and the development of a community gardens land access toolkit.

Increasing Youth Agricultural Leadership and Education Opportunities

Building on the 2023 State of the State agriculture workforce initiative, Governor Hochul – in partnership with the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences New York Agriculture Education & Outreach Program – will stand up New York’s first-ever collaborative youth agriculture leadership conference to support further collaboration among youth agriculture organizations and identify programmatic opportunities for youth engagement with the agriculture and food sectors that reflects the industry’s future workforce needs.

To further build on the promotion of our county fairs, which serve as a foundation for agricultural education for young people, Governor Hochul will also launch the County Fair Passport Program. The Department of Agriculture and Markets will design, print, and distribute an agricultural fair passport booklet that will encourage attendance at the State’s county and youth fairs by allowing fairgoers to collect stamps at each fair they visit. Recognizing that transportation barriers can hinder fair attendance, Governor Hochul will also launch an initiative to support fairs in organizing trips for children.

Growing New York’s Bioeconomy

Governor Hochul will set a progressive bioeconomy development agenda that will leverage existing opportunities to develop bioproduction within the agriculture and forestry sectors. New York will advance the use of wood products and high-value mass timber design in state-funded construction and infrastructure projects and expand the use of mass timber in new construction across New York State with the upcoming Uniform Code update. Governor Hochul will also provide $5 million in capital funding to promote commercialization of biobased products, such as those produced with industrial hemp, and invest $2.25 million to further strengthen access and adoption of integrated pest management solutions through Cornell University’s Integrated Pest Management Program. These investments seek to create new market opportunities for New York products and protect the sustainable growth and management of biomass to be used for products and materials in our growing bioeconomy.

Launching a Blue Food Transformation

To reinvigorate New York’s aquaculture industry, Governor Hochul will launch New York’s Blue Food Transformation initiative to bolster marine agriculture, promote a healthy natural environment, and provide New Yorkers with a nutritious source of locally grown seafood. Governor Hochul will provide $5 million in capital funding for farmers to invest in marine dock space, processing equipment and other vital infrastructure for the growth of their businesses. She also directs the Department of Agriculture and Markets, Department of Environmental Conservation, Empire State Development, and other agencies involved in the production and marketing of seafood to evaluate and coordinate state policies and programs that impact aquaculture licensing, food safety, and economic development measures, and consider pathways for industry growth. This will also include coordinating with Cornell Cooperative Extension to develop New York’s first ever seafood cuisine trail on Long Island.

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