Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) voted in support of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013 which includes key provisions to invest in the Hudson Valley's economy. The bill passed the Committee on Agriculture with a bipartisan vote of 36-10 and now goes to the full House for consideration. Notably, the committee passed Rep. Maloney's CROP Act that supports and defends the specialty agricultural economy in the Hudson Valley and an amendment to help families and communities with flooding in the Black Dirt region.
"Our hardworking farmers create thousands of jobs, strengthen our communities, and bring millions back to the Hudson Valley -- it's time Washington started working just as hard for them," said Representative Sean Patrick Maloney. "By providing regulatory relief and critical investments in local foods, we're finally getting a bill that works for our families, our businesses and our farmers who make up the Hudson Valley's agricultural economy."
"We are pleased Rep. Maloney fought hard for farmers in the Hudson Valley and that he is a strong voice for New York agriculture in Congress. With the inclusion of the CROP Act in the Farm Bill, the Congressman is working to protect our state's diverse specialty crop farms that can be at the mercy of mother nature without having an adequate safety net to protect a season's worth of work," said Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau.
"On behalf of the farm community I represent, I support many of the provisions proposed by Representative Maloney for inclusion in the 2013 Farm Bill. These provisions will strengthen and protect our small, family owned farms here in the northeast," said Michael Sweeton, a member of the NY-18 Agriculture Advisory Committee and Warwick Town Supervisor.
Specialty crops generate nearly $1.4 billion for New York's economy each year, making up one-third of New York's agriculture industry. The Hudson Valley economy thrives on specialty crops, including fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops.
Key provisions Rep. Maloney fought to secure in the bill include:
The Creating Reliability for Our Producers (CROP) Act. The bipartisan, budget neutral CROP Act will help specialty crop producers manage their risk by encouraging the development of new and improved insurance plans for underserved crops like those found in the Hudson Valley. In addition, FARRM authorizes producers to purchase whole farm insurance designed to address a portion of losses not covered by individual crop insurance policies.
Flooding Mitigation for the Black Dirt Region. Rep. Maloney successfully inserted an amendment into the bill that requires the Secretary of Agriculture to take action to help with flood protections around the Wallkill and Black Dirt region.
Expanded support for specialty crop programs. The Farm Bill expands the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which has been successful in enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops found in the Hudson Valley by supporting research, product quality enhancement, and food safety. In addition, the bill restores the investment in the Specialty Crop Research Initiative which lost funding in last year's short term reauthorization.
Support for Distribution of Locally Grown Food. The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program continues competitive grants to improve direct producer to consumer market opportunities including the development of local food system infrastructure.
Regulatory Relief. FARRM includes two provisions that seek to mitigate some of the most onerous regulatory pressures plaguing our nation's farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. Both of these measures provide no additional cost to taxpayers, but provide significant benefits in job creation and regulatory relief.
Critical conservation programs: Through streamlining and consolidating 23 programs into 13, the new conservation framework will ensure we have programs that work for the Hudson Valley. Rep. Maloney will continue to work to provide more opportunities for conservation to protect the rich agricultural history of the Hudson Valley.
Enhanced Beginning Farmer and Rancher Provisions: With the average age of our nation's farmer steadily increasing, Rep. Maloney worked with Congressman Gibson to expand programs that assist younger Americans entering Agriculture, especially our veterans. In addition, Rep. Maloney has supported ensuring farmers have more access to credit so they can grow and expand their businesses.