Norris fights to keep farming on “forefront” of legislative agenda

A Column from Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C,I,Ref-Lockport)

The most important industry in our state has been agriculture and as we continue modernizing and competing in a global economy, New York State remains a leader in agriculture. Throughout the state, and here in Western New York, farming remains a top industry and employer for our state. I have been honored to be named to the New York Farm Bureau’s Circle of Friends every year since first taking office, but I am also fighting hard to keep our agriculture at the forefront of the legislative agenda.

Recently, I had the pleasure to meet with Farm Bureau members to discuss their key legislative priorities in Albany. This session, I’m supporting as a co-sponsor, a new package of bills that will help protect, promote and advance farming in our state by:

  • Encouraging locally-sourced goods (A.6733);
  • Allowing the state Department of Transportation to issue a seasonal agricultural permit for oversized vehicles (A.3700);
  • Discounting tolls on the New York State Thruway for farmers transporting agricultural products (A.1265-A);
  • Increasing the farm workforce retention credit and extending the effectiveness of the credit (A.8760);
  • Clarifying and affirming the rights of farmers who participate in farmland preservation agreements (A.7845-A); and
  • Allowing semitrailers to register with agricultural plates (A.9766).

Of course, as we continue to negotiate a final state budget, I will be working for provisions that support our farmers and agriculture community. Without farms, there is no food. And without farms and local food producers, there are no jobs and our economy will suffer. We must continue to support this industry and programs like 4-H, Cornell Cooperative Extensive and Future Farmers of America.

As always, I welcome your feedback. Please feel free to contact me at norrism@nyassembly.gov.