Maloney Visits New Hampton Farm to Outline Damaging Effects of Failure to Pass Bipartisan Farm Bill
New Hampton, NY — Representative Sean Patrick Maloney joined local and national experts on key agriculture programs at Soons Orchard in New Hampton to discuss the harmful effects of Congress’s failure to pass the 2018 Farm Bill. Nearly 40 key programs administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) expired at the end of September when Congress left town without passing the bill, including programs designed to help young and beginning farmers, promote locally-grown foods, and help farmers branch out into value-added production. Local farmers and agriculture nonprofits have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal investments through the “orphan” programs in recent years, and without further action from Congress, future grants funded through those programs will come to a halt.
“We had a good result in the Farm Bill in 2014 – the best ever written for the Hudson Valley – unfortunately, the current Farm Bill in the House is not great for farmers in our part of the world, and because of partisanship in Washington, we’ve not gotten anything passed yet,” said Rep. Maloney. “It expired on September 30th – and now we have programs in jeopardy that directly help farmers in the Hudson Valley.”
"Glynwood relies on the support of the programs funded through the now expired Farm Bill to train the next generation of sustainable farmers in the Hudson Valley and promote a regenerative regional farming economy," said Liz Corio, Glynwood's VP of Development and Administration. "Thanks to Congressman Maloney's staunch advocacy for small farmers our region got a great farm bill in 2014, and I know he will do all he can to ensure Congress delivers great a Farm Bill, once again,"
“Though farmers over the age of 65 outnumber farmers under 35 by a ratio of 6:1, there is a growing movement of young farmers entering the field, getting trained, and starting new farm businesses in the rural communities that need them,” said Jessica Manly, Communications Manager, National Young Farmers Coalition. “They’re entrepreneurial and tough, but they can’t do it alone. In this critical time and facing the worst agricultural economy since the 1980s, they need and expect Congress to have their backs and do its job: by passing a new farm bill.”
The Farm Bill is due to be reauthorized in 2018, but this year’s deliberations have been derailed by partisanship in the House of Representatives. Republican leadership called the Congress out for recess without passing a final bill, leaving 39 key programs with expiring authorization without funding. One of the most important programs to the Hudson Valley is the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The BFRDP is designed to address issues associated with the rising age and declining number of U.S. farmers and ranchers. Last year, USDA awarded a local organization, Glynwood Farms, with a $400,000 investment through the BFRDP. Rep. Maloney introduced legislation in 2016 and 2017 to reauthorize the program after meeting with farmers at Soons Orchards and partnering with the National Young Farmers Coalition.
Just last month, Rep Maloney announced an investment through another key program whose funding is in jeopardy because of congressional inaction – the Value-Added Producer Grant program, which helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of new products. Last month’s VAPG investment of $250,000 will allow Minkus Farms in New Hampton to promote their new local-label products, contract with larger regional food retailers, and hire three new employees.
Another key “orphan” program which is important to Hudson Valley farmers and at risk because of partisanship in the House of Representatives is the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), which helps to increase domestic consumption of locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets. In 2016, Rep. Maloney announced a $250,000 FMPP investment to allow Glynwood to develop educational and promotional activities to increase local food sales, and in 2014, he announced another FMPP investment of $100,000 to expand and promote local farmers' markets in Orange County.