Significant Investment in Agricultural Industry Supports Food Supply Chain and Promotes Local Foods and Businesses
Investment Tax Credit, Workforce Development, Local Initiatives Will Support Farmers and Farm Workers
Governor Kathy Hochul today highlighted historic support for New York's agricultural industry in the FY 2024 Budget. Reflecting Governor Hochul's strong commitment to farmers and the local food production pipeline in her 2023 State of the State Address, the Budget includes significant investments to increase food manufacturing and state purchasing of local food; establishment of a refundable Investment Tax Credit to support farmers and farm workers; programming to build the farm workforce and assist community and urban farming efforts at the local level; new initiatives to enhance the craft beverage industry; and more. In addition, this marks the second consecutive year of record-breaking local assistance funding for agriculture, which provides for research, development, marketing and promotion programming in New York.
"New York's farmers are the backbone of our state and the agriculture industry is essential to our economy," Governor Hochul said. "These significant investments will continue to support New York's farmers so they can continue to put fresh food on our tables, help our rural communities prosper, and ensure our food and beverages businesses can continue to thrive for years to come."
Food Supply Chain Enhancements
The FY 2024 Budget includes strong investments aimed at boosting demand for New York agricultural products, bolstering New York's food supply chain and ensuring all New Yorkers are able to produce and access fresh, local foods. The Budget enhances New York's community garden programming with $2 million in funding, and it includes a $10 million grant program to support the establishment of farm markets, supermarkets, food cooperatives, and other similar retail food stores, along with supporting infrastructure in underserved communities and regions of the State. These programs will improve food access opportunities in traditionally underserved communities.
More New York Products for our Schools
The FY24 Budget also includes tools to help school districts procure and purchase farm products from local producers, ensuring that New York remains New York's first and best customer. Specifically, the Budget raises the discretionary threshold for food purchasing for schools to $150,000, a significant increase from the previous threshold. Further strengthening local food production in New York State, the Budget provides $50 million over five years to local school districts to support cooking facilities that will facilitate the use of fresh New York State farm products in meal preparation for K-12 school children. The School Food Infrastructure Grant Program will provide the resources schools need to aggregate, store, process, and prepare farm products, and make it possible to cook fresh, nutritious homemade meals on-site for school children.
Supporting Local Producers
Lending additional support to farmers across the State, the Budget makes the 20 percent Investment Tax Credit for farmers refundable for five years. The credit will be available to farms regardless of their profitability, and it will apply in the year the investment is made. This crucial support provides an incentive for additional on-farm production investment such as the purchase of equipment, including state-of-the-art anaerobic biodigesters that can decrease emissions. Following a period where New York farms have faced many challenges, including supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic, uncertainties in the marketplace, and increased labor costs, this tax credit will help New York's producers of all sizes modernize their farms' equipment and practices to better compete in the future.
Looking to the future, the Budget also includes $1 million to create a strong agriculture workforce pipeline in the State to strengthen New York's agricultural industry for years to come. This will include working with key stakeholders to identify internships and apprenticeships across the industry, and working with educational institutions to ensure that the necessary skills and standards required by the industry are being taught to students. The initiative will also include a focus on connecting migrant individuals and asylum seekers with agricultural and food industry jobs, including proposing to increase funding for legal services, which will support these individuals in achieving legal work status. Governor Hochul will also direct the Department of Agriculture and Markets to partner with agricultural organizations to assist migrant workers with employment services, such as screening, language education, basic skills development, and placement.
Supporting Craft Beverage Producers
The Budget also increases the Alcoholic Beverage Production Credit (ABPC) for distillers and wineries, including farm-based beverage producers. This credit is increased for wine and distilled spirits to offset the Excise Tax, which is levied on the first 500,000 gallons produced in New York State, and it provides for better parity between the two beverage classes. New York is currently third among states in wine production and second in craft distilleries.
Agricultural Fair Improvements
The Budget additionally provides key funding to New York's county fairs and the Great New York State Fair, which are critical components of New York agriculture that connect the public with this important industry and its traditions. The Budget includes a $2 million investment in county fairs to assist in their marketing and promotion in an effort to deliver on Governor Hochul's commitment to enhance coordination between county fairs and the Great New York State Fair and increase opportunities to improve youth and agricultural programming initiatives at all fairs statewide.
New York State is home to a thriving agricultural industry, with its farms and food and beverage businesses critical to New York's economy. The state ranks in the top ten in the production of over 30 commodities, with just over a quarter of the state's land mass dedicated to agriculture - about seven million acres. New York ranks first in the production of cottage cheese, sour cream, and yogurt—the dairy industry is the state's largest agricultural sector. Maple syrup, apples, cabbage, and snap beans rank second; grapes third. New York is home to agricultural operations large and small, and employs some of the most highly renowned and sophisticated methods to ship food and farm-produced products across the state and across the globe.
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