Churchville, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- During a visit to Zuber Farms in Churchville on Monday to discuss her opposition to burdensome government regulations for farmers, like the recently lifted ban on the wintertime application of manure, New York Congresswoman Kathy Hochul announced she has joined the bipartisan House Dairy Caucus to better represent the farmers in New York’s 26th Congressional District.
“Dairy farms play an important role to the New York State economy, making up nearly half of our state’s $4.5 billion agriculture industry and yielding more than 12 billion pounds of milk annually,” Hochul said in a news release. “Fighting against burdensome regulations, like the ban on the wintertime application of manure, and fighting to give them the workforce they need, by supporting an expansion of a temporary guest worker program, are some of the reasons why I joined the House Dairy Caucus. We must continue to support common sense initiatives that provide our farmers with the proper resources and right opportunities to grow and continue to be driving factors in the Western New York economy.”
With nearly 35,000 farms, most family-owned, New York’s agriculture industry is one of the state’s largest small business industries. New York currently ranks fourth in the nation in milk production, and Wyoming County, in the middle of New York’s 26th District, leads the state with almost 200 dairy operations.
Congresswoman Hochul, along with New York Representatives Paul Tonko and Richard Hanna, on Monday sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack commending him for removing the ban of the wintertime application of manure.
In October, Representatives Hochul and Hanna introduced a bill that would allow dairy farmers to bring in temporary guest workers through the H-2A visa program to address their labor shortages. Currently, dairy farmers are unable to apply for H-2A visas due to the year-round production of dairy. More information on that bill can be found here.
Joining Congresswoman Hochul on the tour at Zuber Farms were Kim and Eric Zuber, co-managers of Zuber Farms, Scott Page, President of the Genesee County Farm Bureau, and seven other local dairy farmers from throughout Western New York. Kim is also the former President for the Monroe County Farm Bureau and a member of the Executive Committee for the New York Farm Bureau's Western New York Regional Advisory Committee. Eric is currently a member of the New York Farm Bureau.
Zuber Farms is a dairy farm in Monroe County, home to 1,000 head of young stock. The 10 farmers present today represented more than 10,000 head of cattle.