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NY Farm Bureau prioritizes fight against tick-borne diseases

Elizabeth Miller

The New York Farm Bureau, the state’s largest agricultural lobbying and trade organization has released its annual list of budget priorities.

They come as net farm income has fallen to $568 million in 2016, about a third of where it stood in 2013, according to Farm Bureau President David Fisher.

He said one of their chief concerns is doubling the minimum tax wage credit for farms, as the minimum wage increased again this year.

“Farmers cannot just increase to absorb these added labor expenses. In most markets we’re price takers, not price setters,” Fisher said. "We need to continue to find ways for the state to make necessary investments, reduce the cost of doing business and improve market opportunities for our farmers.”

A new priority this year for the Farm Bureau is additional funding for both enhanced detection of tick-borne illnesses as well as for vaccine development, according to Public Policy Director Jeff Williams.

“We are hearing it very loudly and clearly from farmers from the North Country to Western New York, with climate change, we see increased prevalence of ticks, and tick-borne diseases, which has a very clear impact,” Williams said.

Another priority for the group is securing state funding for critical farm programs.

They are calling for an additional $2 million in the state budget for the state’s land grant university, Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Farm Bureau said research money is essential for farmers in this state.

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