NEW YORK – Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo held a virtual budget hearing on agriculture recently that focused on the business side of the industry.
The zoom hearing includes the chairs and ranking members of the agriculture, economic development and small business committees of the Assembly as well as the Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy Task Force.
Testimony was delivered by representatives of the dairy, beef, vegetable and craft brewing industries about the challenges posed by the pandemic and the state’s new farm labor regulations.
Lupardo, who chairs the Ag committee, says growers and producers were hit hard with the loss of key markets such as restaurants and school lunches.
“We were made painfully aware of the substantial vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the system. Whether it was the meat processing or just getting food distributed to the pantries in a timely manner when we had excesses in other areas of the supply.”
Lupardo praised the state’s Nourish New York program which gave food pantries 35 million dollars to purchase New York products to feed the hungry.
She’d like to see the program continue after the pandemic has ended.