Budget Cuts Affect New York Local Farmers

January 28, 2009 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

When it comes to marketing, New York’s local farmers may soon be on their own. As part of budgetary cutbacks, the state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets announced that it would “drastically scale back” its promotion programs for local farmers, including New York’s apple growers and winemakers. 

“While this was a difficult decision, each of these industries have proven themselves for decades as top-ranked national and international competitors, whose members are consistently resourceful and well-positioned to remain so in lieu of state subsidies,” said Department Commissioner Patrick Hooker in recent testimony before the state’s Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees.

It wasn’t all bad news, though, for all local growers.  In fact, the proposed budget seemed to give back what it was taking away from New York’s wine producers in marketing support.  Gov. David Paterson is proposing that grocery stores be allowed to sell wine, a move that would dramatically expand marketing and sales opportunities for New York’s wineries and grape farmers.  The number of outlets would increase from 2,400 to more than 19,000, a bonanza for New York’s wine industry.  If the authorization is approved, New York would join 35 other states that already sell wine in grocery stores. 

Click here for a full transcript of Commissioner Hooker’s testimony on Jan. 13.

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