State Sen. Borrello’s Proposal to Eliminate Farmworker Wage Commission Fails
A proposal from the state senator George Borrello to eliminate the Agricultural Workers Wage Commission and keeping the farm labor overtime threshold at the 60-hour level failed in the Senate.
Borrello said in a statement, “Farmers I have spoken to in my district are dedicated to their work, but are finding it harder to stay afloat financially due to a combination of market changes and heavy-handed policies coming in. from Albany. At a time when our agricultural industry is about to suffer more because the unelected members of the Farmworkers’ Wage Commission recommended lowering the overtime threshold, I proposed a hostile Senate amendment that would eliminate this commission. and its ability to further harm this vital industry.
On January 28, the Wage Board recommended lowering the overtime threshold from 60 hours per week to 40 hours per week despite warnings from farmers and agricultural producers that rising labor costs result would decimate agriculture in New York.
Borrello said: “The Wage Board ignored testimony from farmers, farmworkers and a Cornell University report warning that lowering the overtime threshold would mean less hours and money for farmworkers and would threaten the future of agriculture in New York City.”
During Wednesday’s session, the Senate passed a series of bills co-sponsored by Borrello to support farmers, including:
The Local Produce for Schools Bill, which makes it easier for school districts to purchase locally grown produce for school lunches;
The Young Farmer Loan Forgiveness Act to expand eligibility for New York State’s Young Farmer Loan Forgiveness Program;
The farm labor retention credit increase bill to double the farm labor retention credit from $600 to $1,200 per farm worker for years from 2021 to 2025; and
The New York State Food Bill to increase the purchase of New York State agricultural products by state agencies and facilities.
The Senate also passed a series of farm bills on Wednesday that Senator Borrello voted for, including:
The One-Stop Farming Hotline Bill which establishes an agricultural hotline, with the help of Cornell Cooperative Extension. The helpline provides information on all aspects of farming, including tax credit programs, loans for beginning farmers and sustainable practices;
The Office of Urban Agriculture plans to establish the Office of Urban Agriculture to assist and promote different forms of urban agriculture across the state;
Produce Produced In State Bill directing the Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop and facilitate regional farmers’ markets to promote the direct marketing of agricultural produce to large-volume buyers;
Agrivoltaics In Farming Education Bill directing the Department of Agriculture and Markets to provide guidance and educational materials on the benefits of collocating solar power systems on
agricultural land for agricultural production;
The Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act to create the New York State Council on Food Policy to develop state food policies to ensure all New Yorkers have the opportunity to eat healthy and healthy foods. avoid food insecurity by consuming as much New York-grown food as possible. possible; and
Farmers’ Markets in State Parks Bill to allow farmers’ markets in state and local parks.