As part of the new year of looking out for New York farmers’ best interest, the New York Farm Bureau has revealed its 2015 State Legislative Priorities. It includes the following:

Driving The Economy

  • Support for a refundable investment tax credit to incentivize farm investment.
  • Establish a bonus depreciation program for farms in New York. The program would accelerate depreciation on farm investment in a manner similar to the federal bonus depreciation benefit.
  • Move LLC and Partnership tax filings from March 1 to April 15.
  • Remove the requirement that farms that employ H-2A workers pay unemployment insurance for those workers.
  • Clarify that farms are eligible for the newly established Manufacturers’ Tax.
  • Credit when they are “related parties.”
  • Support basing LLC filing fees on net income instead of gross income.
  • Support safe drilling for natural gas in all formations in New York state.
  • Support reform of New York’s Inherent Risk law for equine operations.

Investing in Agriculture

    • Support for funding for critical food safety, animal health, and agricultural promotion and economic development programs in the Agriculture and Markets budget.
    • Support for funding of Environmental Protection Fund programs that provide cost-sharing of critical farm water quality and farmland protection projects that allow farms to reinvest in their farm business.
    • Re-establish funding in the state budget for Quality Assurance/ Quality.
    • Control for CAFO planners in New York state.
    • Work to ensure common sense and fair CAFO permit requirements during the latest permit rewrite

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  • Establish Freedom of Information Law protections for farms enrolled in state government programs.
  • Expand opportunities for farm investment in anaerobic digester and other renewable energy opportunities.
  • Ease wholesale tax reporting requirements for all wineries in New York.
  • Move Agricultural Assessment program management from the Department of Taxation and Finance to the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Growing Locally, Eating Locally

  • Mandate greater protection of farmland, in relation to wetlands, when siting any public project.
  • Support regional food hubs and requiring the Office General Services to provide OGS warehouse space to house local food product for transport to state institutions and schools.
  • Support a state tax credit for donations of locally grown food by farmers to Food Banks.
  • Provide state and New York City funding to offset the skilled harvest and transportation of food from farms to food banks.
  • Provide regional equity for agricultural projects under the CFA grant program.

Expanding Market Opportunities

  • Support immediate investment in repair of critical road and bridge infrastructure to maintain quality access to farm fields and consumers in order to alleviate farm access issues, such as municipalities lowering weight limits on bridges instead of addressing the structural problem.
  • Oppose any increases to tolls on the New York State Thruway to fund the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge.
  • Establish a Farm EZ-Pass for more affordable market access to urban consumers.
  • Support allowing agency action to establish new and expanded wine trails in New York state.
  • Establish an “Agricultural” license plate for trailers used in agriculture.