Gillibrand visits small businesses at the NYS fair to promote farm bill policies
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's New York State Fair visit Monday is part of her broader role and ongoing support of New York’s agriculture sector. Gillibrand said she hopes farmers in New York take advantage of debt relief made available through the Inflation Reduction Act.
As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, she said she knows farmers are hurting financially and still are suffering ever since the pandemic shutdowns.
"The last three years have been particularly tough on farmers in Central New York and throughout Upstate New York. Accumulated debt is still a huge liability for these farmers, and until all the markets return, and until the economy continues to grow, they're gonna be in a precarious situation," Gillibrand said.
She said the loan forgiveness programs are available for smaller farms earning less than $300,000 annually. The Senator wants to provide more relief in the next version of the farm bill.
"You're also eligible for a number of funding grants and opportunities through the USDA, especially if you've been discriminated against in the past or were unable to get those loans or grants in the past. So this $3.1billion is really designed for the farms that are struggling and haven't gotten their fair share," Gillibrand said.
She visited with agriculture-related vendors on display at the fair and was introduced to the owner of Antler Run Distilling on Keuka Lake, James Quade.
"We have what we call the Cherry Stuff, which is a cherry-flavored spirit that we flavor with tart cherries from a farm in Buffalo, and then we have our spiked cider, which is a nice taste of fall with apple cinnamon," Quade said.
He says the distillery that he operates with his dad really thrives on direct sales. Their business is one of many agriculture vendors featured in the Horticulture Building.
"Being able to have Taste of New York to offer these booths up to us has just been fantastic and being able to have and meet all these people, the exposure is amazing," Quade said.