Posted by Debbie Groom/The Post-Standard April 21, 2009 8:53PM
Washington, DC -- U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand met Tuesday with leaders of New York Farm Bureau to talk about the challenges facing local farmers and how to ensure long-term growth of the state's agricultural economy.
Gillibrand said New York's farms and rural communities have been hit hard during this tough economy and recession. Some of the economic problems have led to family farmers struggling to remain solvent, rural communities lacking access to broadband and some health care services. These problems make it difficult for families and businesses to compete and succeed in rural New York.
Gillibrand discussed with the Farm Bureau officials low dairy prices, buy local programs and other challenges facing New York's farm families. She talked with Farm Bureau President Dean Norton of Batavia, Vice President Eric Oom of Chatham and other leaders about ways to work together to get New York's agricultural economy back on track.
Gillibrand is the first New York senator in nearly 40 years to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee. About one-quarter of New York is made up of farmland and 42 of New York's 62 counties are rural. New York's agriculture sector contributes nearly $4 billion to the state's economy each year.