Senator Clinton Announces New Initiatives to Support New York Agriculture at Seventh Annual New York Farm Day
Event Showcases New York's Wines, Produce, Seafood & Restaurants on National Stage
American Farm Bureau Honors Clinton with "Friend of Farm Bureau" Award for Work on Behalf of New York Agriculture
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton announced new initiatives to support New York agriculture at the seventh annual New York Farm Day on Tuesday in Washington, DC. Senator Clinton hosts Farm Day to showcase award-winning wines, farm-fresh produce, outstanding seafood, and fine restaurants from across New York on a national stage. In addition to welcoming the hundreds of farmers, producers and visitors from every region of New York, Senator Clinton also met with her New York Agriculture Board. She outlined new initiatives including a farm-to-hospitals program to make fresh, locally-produced food available in New York hospitals and a holiday gift basket project to promote New York producers.
Senator Clinton with Ruth Mignerey (left) and Roxaina Hurlburt (right) of Mercer's Dairy in Oneida County. Senator Clinton and Farm Day helped Mercer's launch its now-famous wine ice-cream and expand into new markets. "Senator Clinton and her staff have been a critical piece of Mercer's being able to develop and grow," Hurlburt said.
"New York Farm Day is a wonderful opportunity to shine a bright spotlight on the hard work and terrific products of our state's farmers, wine-makers and producers. Every year, leaders from across our nation come to Farm Day to discover a new and delicious taste of New York. I am very proud to showcase our great state and all it has to offer," Senator Clinton said. "I was also pleased to announce new initiatives that will benefit New York agriculture. I am committed to doing all I can to help keep our vital agricultural economy growing."
"Senator Clinton has been a real champion for New York agriculture and a true friend to the grape and wine industry," said Jim Trezise, President of the statewide New York Wine & Grape Foundation, which organizes the event. "This year's New York Farm Day was bigger and better than ever, and the enthusiasm was palpable. The whole purpose of this event is to showcase New York as a major farm state so policymakers will take us seriously when agricultural issues come up. The evidence that it has worked is the new Farm Bill, which for the first time in history includes major benefits for New York farmers. We truly appreciate the passion which Senator Clinton brings to her job and our industry. She's great for New York."
Senator Clinton announced that she will introduce farm-to-hospitals legislation to provide grants to hospitals, Veterans Administration health centers, and nonprofit nutrition organizations for the purchase of nutritious, locally-produced food for patients, hospital employees and visitors. Modeled on Senator Clinton's successful farm-to-fork and farm-to-school initiatives, the farm-to-hospital program would allow New York farmers to expand into new markets while providing significant health benefits to New York hospitals. Senator Clinton also said that work is underway on a farm-to-college program to open New York campuses to New York produce.
Senator Clinton also announced a holiday gift basket project to link New York farmers and producers with companies that purchase large numbers of gift baskets around the holiday season. The idea grew out of suggestions made to Senator Clinton at agriculture roundtable in Orleans County and grew to fruition with the help of Pride of New York, the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, and the New York Department of Agriculture. Dozens of wineries and farms have signed up to participate and they will be showcased on a new Pride of New York website (http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us/AP/PrideOfNY/giftpackages_search.asp). The initiative builds on Senator Clinton's extensive record connecting producers, often upstate, with buyers and restaurateurs, often downstate.
In conjunction with Farm Day, Senator Clinton convened her Agriculture Advisory Board, bringing together leaders from across the state to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing New York agriculture, including the implementation of the 2008 Farm Bill and concerns about transportation, labor and energy.
This year marks the first time that the State University of New York (SUNY) has participated in Farm Day. SUNY campuses from across the state, including SUNY-ESF, Morrisville State College, SUNY Cobleskill, Monroe Community College, and Alfred State College, used the occasion to showcase advances in agriculture-based alternative energy, environmentally-friendly farming techniques, entrepreneurial agri-business opportunities for specialty food processors, and other innovative results from SUNY's cutting-edge research.
Senator Clinton has long been a champion of New York farmers and producers of fresh and healthy foods. Her Farm-to-Fork initiative has helped connect producers with restaurants, schools, and under-served communities. The recently enacted Farm Bill included key provisions Senator Clinton introduced along with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) which aimed to increase the supply and availability of locally produced foods to underserved communities by providing innovative financing for small and midsized family farmers and ranchers, and also included measures to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in school meals. (See more: http://clinton.senate.gov/news/statements/details.cfm?id=297875 and http://clinton.senate.gov/news/statements/details.cfm?id=286121)
Senator Clinton was honored yesterday with American Farm Bureau's "Friend of Farm Bureau" Award for her dedicated work on behalf of New York agriculture. Earlier this month, Senator Clinton also received the National Farmers Union's Golden Triangle Award and the United Fresh Produce Association's Congressional Leadership Award.