Assemblymember Buttenschon: We Must Do More to Support New York Farmers

Assemblymember Marianne Buttenschon (D,I-Rome/Utica) attended the Assembly’s virtual joint public hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 2, to discuss the state budget’s impact on New York’s agricultural industry through the state Department of Agriculture and Markets and Department of Economic Development/Empire State Development.

“During these unprecedented times, it’s critical that we examine how the state is supporting our farmers and determine what else we can do to help,” Buttenschon said. “This hearing allowed my Assembly colleagues and I to get firsthand testimony from stakeholders about the challenges they’re facing in today’s economy, the need for smart investments and how this pandemic has uniquely affected farming businesses. I’ve fought to get Mohawk Valley farmers the resources and assistance they need to thrive and will continue to stand by them through this crisis.”

The public hearing was hosted by the Assembly’s committees on Agriculture, Small Business and Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry and the Assembly’s Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy. The hearing allowed speakers statewide to provide testimony on the impact of the 2020-2021 state budget on the agriculture industry and related businesses, including how to best help the farming community in a changing marketplace, as well as the weather effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buttenschon invited John J. Piseck Jr., Executive Director of the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to speak during the hearing. Buttenschon has been working alongside Piseck Jr. to bring attention to and help develop local brownfield sites in hopes of bringing new business opportunities to the Mohawk Valley. She also recently toured brownfields with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 representatives to learn about the steps needed to revitalize and clean these sites.

Buttenschon has worked to expand opportunities for New York farmers, including authoring legislation that increases the amount of the Farm Workforce Retention Credit and establishes the Marketing and Export Take – New York (MEET-NY) program to assist and encourage businesses, industrial firms and industry groups to engage in export trade regionally and globally (A.7136, A.10201). In addition, her bill allowing Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to establish young farmer apprenticeship programs was recently signed into law (Ch. 298 of 2020).

“Processing is key to the growth of economic development in agriculture within New York State and Herkimer County,” said Piseck. “The abundance of water, excellent climate, central location, dedicated workforce, developable land, and entrepreneurial drive, make Herkimer County the right location in New York State to be the leader in food processing."

Buttenschon has been committed to helping farmers in any way that she can during the COVID-19 pandemic. She created a Resource Directory for Farmers – which can be found at – to provide agricultural workers with