News & Notices
2011-06-03, Agricultural Listening Session with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Paul and Maureen Knapp's Cobblestone Valley Farm hosted an Agricultural Listening Session held by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on June 3, 2011. New York State Director of Agriculture and Markets Darrel Aubertine was there with Sen. Gillibrand to help record concerns from the farm community.
A few subjects brought up for discussion by those attending the session:
- Renewable energy funding for sources other than corn based ethanol;
- Lower the income cap on farm subsidy programs - exclude corporations;
- Strive for parity for locally grown products. Help small farms operate more efficiently so that the products can be priced more competitively with imported and corporate products;
- Support a distribution hub for local foods, with excess products finding expanded markets year round;
- GMO Companies have no oversight. (GMO -foods derived from genetically modified organisms/growth hormones). They need to be questioned on food safety and cross contamination of native plant issues;
- Edible products should have GMO ingredients noted on the labels. Europe will not accept products with GMO ingredients for sale. Consumers here should have the choice;
- The US legal system should not penalize farmers who are subjected to GMO crop contamination by charging them with patent infringement
Sen. Gillibrand read a list of her intentions including the following:
- Review farm labor availability and immigration laws;
- Support milk pricing reform;
- Recognize that farm production on a local level is a matter of national security, as an example - tainted food on the west coast due to the Japanese nuclear troubles should not affect the entire country's food supplies;
- Secure financial support for the small farms, partly through bolstering FSA funding;
- Support Fresh Food program for schools, helping to use local farm products;
- Support biomass production such as willow and switch grass for use as renewable energy;
- Support specialty crop funding in new farm bill.
Sen. Gillibrand says all of the issues will be hard fought to change due to strong support for current practices and laws.