Oct. 21, 2009: New York State's farmers need help

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To The Editor:
On October 13, I held a rally at Maple Dream Farm in the Town of Greene urging Governor Paterson to release $150 million in much-needed funding for New York’s struggling family dairy farmers.
The farmers I spoke with told me that they are being paid prices catastrophically below the price of production for milk. Many local dairy producers have been forced to max out loans, sell their cows and lay off valued workers in an attempt to keep their farms in business. Our family dairy farmers need immediate financial help to ensure that they can continue making a living and have a profitable business to pass along to their children.
The U.S. Congress recently approved $290 million in federal funding for the nation’s dairy farmers. This amount is woefully inadequate. It’s time for state government to step up to the plate and allocate funds to save one of the largest industries in New York, before we lose more of our family dairy farms to these difficult economic times.
My Assembly Minority colleagues and I are currently working on legislation and other policy initiatives to create jobs and reduce the cost of doing business in New York State. We are also advocating for ‘country of origin’ labeling of dairy products and ‘buy local’ agriculture initiatives.
I’m committed to supporting family dairy farmers, and I’m in this fight for the long haul. If you have questions on this or any other issue, or would like information on how you can help save family farms in your community, please call my district office at 607 648-6080. My staff and I are always happy to assist you.

Cliff Crouch,
Assemblyman, 107th District Ranker, Assembly Agriculture Committee