Small business owner and congressional candidate Chris Collins today held the first of a series of agriculture roundtables to discuss the importance and critical role family farms and agri-businesses play in supporting and growing the economy of the 27th district.
"Our economy is hurting and farmers are feeling the pain as much or more than anyone. In Congress, I will be a leader and fight to make sure our farmers are protected. But even more importantly, I will work everyday to ensure that their economic impact on our community is maximized and we exploit the opportunities agriculture offers to provide quality jobs and a sustainable future for the residents of the 27th Congressional District," said Collins.
Joined by more than 35 members of the agriculture and farming industry, Collins convened the meeting to talk about the challenges and issues facing local farmers and the agriculture industry. Today's group shared their experiences and spoke about the critical steps that must be taken to protect family farmers and the agriculture industry, including addressing crippling EPA regulations.
"In the end, we cannot stress enough the importance of agriculture and family farmers, both to our economic recovery and our way of life. This president and his supporter Kathy Hochul may not believe that folks built their small businesses and farms on their own, but we know better. That's why we need leadership in Washington who understands how to create jobs and has actually done it.
Unfortunately, a lifetime on the public payroll has left our current representative out-of-touch on the challenges facing farmers and small businesses," said Collins.
Farming is a major component of the local economy in the 27th Congressional District. According to the latest Census of Agriculture, there are more than 6,000 farms spread across the eight counties that make up the 27th Congressional District. Approximately one-quarter of all of New York's land is used for agricultural purposes. Milk is the State's leading agricultural product with a value of $2.2 billion in 2010. More milk is produced in Wyoming County than anywhere else in New York. The State's apple crop ranks second nationally for production worth $223 million in 2010.
Collins will continue to hold these roundtables on an ongoing basis to discuss plans and solutions to the unique challenges facing family farmers and agri-businesses in the 27th Congressional District.