Buttenschon represents area farmers at public hearing

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Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119, Marcy, participated in a public hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 16, to support farmers and small-business owners as New York continues to recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The joint-committee hearing was designed to review the impact of agricultural state budget funding on small- and medium-sized farms and agribusinesses. The assemblywoman invited Shawna Papale of Candella’s Farm and Greenhouses in Marcy, who is also the Chief Administrative Officer of Mohawk Valley EDGE to testify. Earlier this year, Buttenschon hosted a September farm tour for her fellow Assembly members of six local farms – which included Candella’s – to highlight the challenges faced by Mohawk Valley food producers. 

Included in the testimony on Tuesday was an estimate from Farm Credit East, part of the nationwide agricultural Farm Credit System, that found NY farmers could see labor costs jump by 42% from the previous year due to a rising minimum wage and an effort to reduce the overtime threshold for farm employees.

“Any industry would be in peril if its labor costs were to suddenly increase by 40%. We rely on our farmers to provide sustainable, nourishing food. New York’s agriculture industry is responsible for 200,000 jobs statewide and has a $50 billion impact on the state’s economy,” Buttenschon said. “It is critical that we hear the concerns brought forward by our farming community, and that we protect what is such an important part of the state’s economy. I want to thank CAO Shawna Papale for testifying today to express the needs of Mohawk Valley farmers.” 

The September farm tour was followed up by a visit to Hunt’s Point Market in the Bronx to help connect upstate producers with downstate businesses. As a member of both the Assembly Agriculture Committee and Assembly Economic Development Committee, Buttenschon has been a stalwart advocate for local farmers and farm businesses. She helped pass a state budget that includes a bridge program for upstate farmers and passed a resolution designating July as Dairy Month to help support state dairy farmers. 

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