Last week, the New York Farm Bureau held its State Annual Meeting at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, NY.
Roughly 400 delegates, members and supporters of the bureau attended the three-day event, between Dec. 3 and Dec. 5, focused on debating and deciding legislative and regulatory initiatives which will support agriculture in the state.
Among attendees was Richard Kimball, president of the Chautauqua County Farm Bureau Association.
Kimball mentioned that although no "big issues" were discussed at the meeting, some issues debated will affect Chautauqua County farms in the future, including the bureau's effort to protect the individual privacies of farmers in regards to the Freedom of Information Act.
As well, Kimball noted that OSHA is scheduled to inspect dairy farms in New York next year and that an OSHA representative from Syracuse was present at the meeting to speak about farm safety. "If a farm has 10 or more employees and seasonal workers, they should expect an OSHA audit," Kimball said. Farms which have experienced a recent death or three or more reported incidents involving hospitalization should also expect an audit, according to Kimball.
Last year, the New York Farm Bureau meetings directly influenced the signing of legislation by Governor Andrew Cuomo which set a 2 percent per year cap on agricultural land assessment. Kimball described the legislation as a "big deal for Chautauqua County," because "farmers need to plan on what our bills will be." In previous years, agricultural land assessments were increasing between 8 and 10 percent per year, according to Kimball.
Kimball also said that there is a new program to get farmers involve called "Every Farmer" and that Chautauqua County received seven Silver Key Awards at the meeting, which signified accomplishments involving local government and promoting education.
For more information about the New York Farm Bureau, visit www.nyfb.org. To contact the Chautauqua County Farm Bureau Association, call Richard Kimball at 508-965-6400.