Issue Position: Agricultural Agenda
Even though the United States is the richest nation the world has ever known, it is a tragic irony that our most basic need - our food supply - is becoming increasingly at risk. People are beginning to recognize that current agricultural practices, which are industrial in scale and international in scope, need to change.
With the increased price of fuel, food is becoming more expensive to produce and transport. With agribusinesses' heavy use of industrial chemicals, our food is less healthy and our farmland under stress. And because much of our food is imported, controlling our food supply becomes a question of national security.
We need to bring food production back to a human scale by revitalizing local and regional farming Upstate New York and the 21st Congressional District with its great farming tradition, is in a position to take advantage of this opportunity.
By rebuilding local infrastructure to support the local farm economy, which has been neglected in the era of trans-national shipment, we can support increased local production which in turn helps to ensure affordable and healthy food for our families and helps our farms remain viable for the future.
Phil has supported local right to farm laws and preservation of family farms as an Albany County Legislator. He and his family have also decided to show their support for New York's family farmers by becoming members of the New
York Farm Bureau, a non-partisan and not-for-profit statewide agricultural organization.
Supporting Family Farms.
Phil will support farm programs that provide diversified family farms that grow specialty crops like fruit and vegetables with stability in a volatile market. Subsidies for corporate farming need to be ended. Policies need to favor farmers rather than supporting the dominance of food processors and big retail chains.
We need to work to expand direct marketing and value-added opportunities for farmers by investing in local agricultural infrastructure, helping to develop niche-markets, and connecting consumers to the availability of local food and agricultural products.
Phil supports Country of Origin Labeling' and New York's branding program called Pride of New York,' which help farmers to compete in a world market and allow consumers to know where their food comes from.
We need federal help to bring universal broadband internet to underserved and rural areas, thereby supporting small business development.
Expand Land Conservation Efforts.
Phil will support conservation programs that help farmers protect our precious natural resources and maintain open-working landscapes.
New Opportunities for Farmers.
Phil will support policies that encourage the development of alternative energy like wind energy, solar, and the production of New York homegrown biofuels, including non-food based cellulosic ethanol. By devoting part of their land to wind "farming", farmers can add another revenue stream, thereby adding value to the farm economy and increasing the demand for "green collar" jobs.
Phil supports funding for agricultural education programs at New York's colleges and universities, like SUNY Cobleskill, that foster the next generation of farmers. We must also make it easier for young and beginning farmers to start their own farms through tax or other incentives.