Sen. Patty Ritchie and her colleagues have just put a fourth straight on-time budget to bed, and there are many things in the spending plan that will help farmers sleep better at night.
For starters, there are real tax reforms, including moving the estate tax threshold to match the federal level. This New York Farm Bureau priority will assist thousands of family farms in transition planning to keep vital farmland in production. Additionally, the state is rolling back the 18-A utility surcharge, which will reduce everyones electric bills and increase the competitiveness of our farms in the global marketplace.
New York state has also made a significant investment in a number of research programs to improve how we grow food. And there is additional support for the Environmental Protection Fund, which works with farmers in becoming even better stewards of our natural resources.
Also in the new budget is money to promote the quality local products coming from farms. The New York Farm Bureau also appreciates the initiatives spearheaded by Sen. Ritchie that look toward the future, including beginning farming grants and more money for valuable FFA opportunities to educate our young people.
Much of this was made possible through the support and leadership of Sen. Ritchie, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. She values the hard work of farmers and understands their contributions to the rural economy. We thank her for her support.
The writer is president of the New York Farm Bureau.