New York State Ag Commissioner on the 2018 farm bill

NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball comments on the farm bill

I am encouraged to see that we have been able to come together with a multi-year, comprehensive farm and nutrition package that will benefit all New Yorkers – in urban and rural areas, Upstate and Downstate.

To ensure that New Yorkers were considered in this important legislation, the Department held a statewide listening session to gather input on what the 2018 Farm Bill should look like, and I am pleased that so much of what was brought to us from our stakeholders has been included in the final policy package. As a result, this timely legislation protects our dairy farmers, ensures nutrition assistance for those in need, industrializes hemp, protects our environment from invasive species, and more.

Improving the functionality of dairy programs is critical to New York’s dairy farms. I am happy to see that the Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) has been revamped as the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) Program. This improved program will expand coverage, increase flexibility, and allow dairy farms to take advantage of lower premiums. It will also provide greater enrollment options and will expand the margin. To address the losses of the failed MPP program, the Farm Bill provides an avenue for dairy operations to get a partial refund on what they paid in to the program from 2014 – 2017. Participants are eligible for either a 75% refund toward a new Dairy Risk Coverage program or 50% cash back.

New York consumers are protected as well. SNAP recipients who were worried about losing coverage due to a change in work requirements can rest easy that they will still be able to put food on their family’s table. Additionally, farmers will continue to benefit from increased SNAP sales. It’s a true win-win.

Finally, New York’s unique economy will continue to expand. The Farm Bill industrializes hemp and supports further research on the commodity, building on the progress New York and other states have made in cultivating this crop that provides new opportunities for our farmers and can fuel a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Overall, the 2018 Farm Bill reflects the needs that our farmers and residents across the state voiced, and we are happy that their message was heard.

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