New York’s Farmers Facing A Serious Threat

New York’s farms offer an abundance of quality products families and communities use for all sorts of occasions. The hard-working men and women who own and operate New York farms are critical to the state’s well-being and our economy. The goods and services they provide are part of what make our state great. I firmly support our farmers and have consistently fought for legislation that would reduce the burdens they face in New York’s troubled small-business climate.
 
For generations, farming has been a cornerstone industry of our state and our nation. March 15 is National Agriculture Day, when we honor the contributions, hard work and determination of the men and women of this proud industry. These days, farmers need our collective help from misguided government policies that threaten their viability and prosperity. 
 
FARMERS FACE AN UPHILL BATTLE
 
More than anyone, farmers epitomize the meaning of an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. But besides long hours, Albany has forced crushing mandates and maintained a poor tax climate that adds to their challenges. Now, the much-maligned potential minimum wage hike to $15 per hour further threatens the solvency and sustainability of New York farms.
 
A recent report from Farm Credit East cited by the New York Farm Bureau analyzed the impact of a $15 per hour minimum wage and found the additional labor costs for New York’s farmers will be between $387 and $622 million in 2021, the peak of the rollout. They simply cannot afford such an egregious cost increase. The governor and Assembly Majority seem to forget the families that will be adversely impacted by the wage hike during their politically-driven and ill-advised crusade, and it is shameful that they continue to focus on politics before policy.
 
I STAND WITH FARMERS
 
The Finger Lakes Region is home to some of the best farms in the country and it has been a privilege to meet and serve the men and women who have worked to make the region world class. Recently, I was presented with the New York Farm Bureau’s 2015 “Circle of Friends” Award for my continued support of New York’s family farms and agricultural industry. I am humbled to have been recognized by the Farm Bureau every year since I have been a member of the Assembly.
 
My colleagues in the Assembly Minority Conference have also displayed unwavering commitment to reducing the taxes and onerous regulations that hamper New York farmers and increasing awareness of all the great products they offer. New York’s farms drive so much of the local and state economies and deserve a fair chance to grow. It is unacceptable that these important small businesses are struggling to stay afloat considering how important they are to all of our lives. Their livelihood and ours are inextricably linked, and we must stand with them against politically driven proposals that will decimate a proud industry that we have relied upon for generations.
 
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

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