AFT Statement on Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2024 State of the State for New York Agriculture
This statement can be attributed to Mikaela Perry, New York Policy Manager, American Farmland Trust
On Tuesday, January 9th Gov. Kathy Hochul delivered her New York State of the State Address to broadly define the 2024 legislative agenda. American Farmland Trust applauds Gov. Hochul’s commitment to supporting the health and safety of New Yorkers, which includes farmers and food system workers. AFT is encouraged by the Governor’s commitment to promoting jobs in agriculture and continued attention to mitigating the impacts of climate change and irregular weather patterns, especially in assisting farmers in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector through new alternative waste management and enhanced precision feed programs. Through these investments, farmers can become a part of the solution in addressing climate change and bringing New York state closer to its environmental goals as outlined in the CLCPA.
AFT also applauds the Governor’s attention to expanding summer meals programs and increasing youth agricultural and leadership education opportunities. Expanding food access through child nutrition programs is critical for our state’s youth; ensuring these meals also include foods grown in our state by New York producers is vital for our state’s farmers and economy. We encourage the governor to build on these exciting initiatives to feed our state’s youth and connect them to their food system by also expanding the 30% Reimbursement Incentive Program to include all federally reimbursable meals through the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs, and changing bill language so that all schools can receive a reimbursement for their local food purchases regardless of whether they participate in other child nutrition meal programs.
AFT looks forward to seeing further details in the executive budget proposal and working with the Governor and legislature this year to support investments and actions that will strengthen farm to school, bring a diverse new generation of farmers onto the land, and help more farmers permanently protect their land and adopt climate smart practices.
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 7.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.