Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R-C-I Chautauqua) joined his colleagues in the Assembly Republican Conference calling on the Governor to provide financial and regulatory relief for farmers struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Assemblyman Goodell says assistance must come quickly, as many farmers were already experiencing hardships before the crisis began.
“The longer we wait the harder our farmers will be struck by the crisis which resulted from COVID-19,” Assemblyman Goodell said. “They need help immediately, or farms that have been operated by the same family for generations are going to be forced to shut their doors for good.”
It’s about doing the right thing. Keep the farms operational, keep produce on the shelves at the grocery store, and keep food on the table for you and your family.”
Measures proposed by Goodell for agricultural relief include:
Suspend, for one year, DMV registration requirements for agricultural vehicles and farm trucks;
Suspend the highway use tax, special hauling permit fees and collection of New York state tolls for vehicles used to transport agricultural products, including milk;
Suspend, for one year, the 60-hour overtime threshold for farm laborers enacted as part of the 2019 Farm Labor bill;
Suspend, during the state of emergency period, the 24-hour agricultural rest requirement;
Extend the Milk Producers Security Fund to help producers who are unable to sell because of COVID-19;
Use additional federal stimulus money for direct cash infusions for Cornell Cooperative Extensions to assist in the provision of emergency services;
Use federal stimulus funding to invest in rural broadband infrastructure to assist in the provision of services to farms/rural areas during uncertain social and economic times;
Provide vouchers for food banks to purchase local dairy and agricultural products; and
Stipulate “green nurseries” as essential businesses for the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis so that these businesses can re-open while following social-distancing guidelines.
A copy of the letter is available by clicking here.