Reed Meets with Farmers, Farm Bureau Board Members at Dairy Farm
Tom Reed met with a group of the district’s farmers Wednesday to get an update from them on this year’s Farm Bill impact and how pending legislation in Washington may affect their operations and ability to pass their farm on to the next generation of farmers. The group met at Pine Villa Farm, a Cattaraugus farm specializing in dairy. Farmers from Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties all attended the meeting.
“Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and we need to care for the needs of our farmers so that they can do their jobs not only today, but so that our farms thrive for future generations,” Reed said. “In the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes we are blessed with a great diversity of agriculture and improving the outlook for our region’s agriculture community is something we have to constantly care for.”
In January, Reed supported the five-year farm bill to reauthorize agriculture programs in the 23rd district. Specifically, Reed highlighted the increased support for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, expanded access to crop insurance to protect farmers against weather and natural disasters, and important reforms to dairy programs to ensure support for their industry.
Farmers said getting the Farm Bill passed this year was a hurdle they were pleased and relieved to see pass. “Farmers needed that Farm Bill so that they can do their jobs,” Reed said of the bill. “We relied heavily on our local farmers for input toward what ended up being the final product.”
Even with the long-term Farm Bill’s passage, Reed says there are still important issues to tackle for agriculture in New York. Reed talked with farmers about overreaching EPA regulations, immigration reform to fix the ineffective H2-A visa program and tax reform to lower rates for everyone.
“In making the tax code simpler and fairer, our goal is to lower the rates for everyone, including the farmers in our district. They struggle with a complex code and instead of putting their time into growing their business, they waste hours filing each year and many have to pay a professional to prepare their taxes. Everyone deserves a fair approach and a level playing field. Farmers provide our families with fresh food – tax reform can make it easier for them to do their jobs and enable them to pass their operations on to the next generation of farmers.”
Following the tour, Reed toured Pine Villa Farm and the farm’s new solar panels, recently installed to improve efficiency and reduce the property’s energy costs.