Yes, Pennsylvania. State budgets can be done on time and with increased support of agriculture. New York State's final budget of $132.5 billion was approved on Friday –fully funding important ag programs − without raising taxes or fees.
The 2012-13 budget marked the first increase in support for farm friendly programs in over four years, notes New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton. "The strong leadership of Ag Committee Chairs Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Bill Magee delivered the first increases in agricultural funding in more than four years."
All of the vital agricultural assistance programs that New York farmers count on were either funded at last year's levels or received a slight increase. Here are some of the key elements:
- Farm Net: A program that provides financial and personal counseling services uniquely tailored to agriculture received a year-to-year funding increase from $384,000 to $484,000
- Grow New York: $3 million was allocated to reinstitute this program aimed at enhancing the economic vitality of New York agriculture.
- Farm Viability Institute: This ag research support program that directly impacts on farm profitability and sustainability was funded at last year's level, $1.221 million.
- Integrated Pest Management: Environmentally friendly pest control program was funded at last year's level, $500,000.
- Maple Producers Association: Maple syrup promotion and marketing is fully restored to $100,000.
- Tractor Rollover Protection: The program to reduce farm safety hazards is fully restored to $100,000.
- North Country Ag Development: Promotion and support of the development of agriculture and agribusinesses in the North Country increased from last year's $300,000 to $500,000.
Farm Bureau also welcomes the final resolution of funding for the Environmental Protection funding steady at $134 million dollars and continues to support the organization's conservation priorities including:
- Funding for the Farmland Protection Program and agricultural non-point source pollution control remained constant at $12 million and $13 million respectively.
- Support for Soil and Water Conservation Districts increased by $500,000 over last year.
- The Agricultural Waste Management Program saw an increase from $430,000 to $700,000.