Farmers hope to see educational support, crop insurance and broadband in 2023 Farm Bill
Every five years the Farm Bill comes up for renewal. It sets policies on things like agriculture, conservation, nutrition and food assistance programs. Ahead of the current legislation expiring September 30, Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) is hearing from farmers across the 24th Congressional District about their priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill.
Paul Forestiere, director of the Oswego County Cornell Cooperative Extension, said the Farm Bill needs to ensure farms matter equally regardless of their size.
"Agriculture in Oswego County is really made up of family farms," Forestiere said. "There are some larger entities, but it's the family farm that's the backbone of what happens in agriculture in Oswego County."
Forestiere mentioned needing educational support especially as new people move to the field. He says they have 28 new farmers and about half of them have no experience in farming.
"These are people that have had other careers and they finish their career and they've decided that they want to move to Oswego County and become involved in agriculture," Forestiere said. These people need support and they need a lot of it and of course that costs money."
Terry Wilbur is the county clerk of Oswego County and chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Steering Committee for the National Association of Counties. He pushed for investments in broadband infrastructure — saying about one out of every four rural families does not have a sufficient connection to the Internet. Wilbur also wants to see crop insurance expanded in the Farm Bill.
"Counties support expanding crop insurance to cover additional crops, livestock and poultry," Wilbur said. "Crop insurance will help the bottom line for our farmers and help the unavoidable perils that come with the industry."
With 12 titles to the bill and an upcoming deadline, Tenney said she expects the process to be contentious as the bill is hashed out.
"It's going to be challenging," Tenney said. "I hope we can get it done by October 1, which is our deadline, but I'm not absolutely sure that's going to happen"
Tenney said Congress will need to come together on the bill as issues are urgent not just in upstate New York but for farms across the country.