By Melissa Daniels, CNLP
Advocacy Committee Chair

NYSNLA continues to work with the New York Farm Bureau in lobbying our state legislators on issues of concern to all “growing” businesses in the state.

At our March board meeting, the NYSNLA board heard from Farm Bureau President David Fisher and Director of Public Policy Jeff Williams, who told us what to expect from the upcoming Lobby Day at the state Capitol. Several board members attended the Farm Bureau’s popular Taste of New York reception that evening and met with legislators the next day.

Here is an update on the legislative issues we have been watching:

The state Labor Department has dropped the 2-week call in pay initiative. This is a big win for our side, as these regulations would have been a major hardship for weather-dependent industries such as ours.

A statewide definition of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been adopted, which helps solidify a scientific interpretation of pest and disease control in lieu of more political definitions and legislative pressures. This is also a welcome result for NYSNLA, which is on record as supporting such a definition as long as it is based on science.

Nitrogen fertilizer legislation is back on the agenda. Sen. Todd Kaminsky, who chairs the Environmental Conservation Committee, introduced an amendment to restrict the sale or use of nitrogen fertilizers to only those containing low nitrogen, defined as not more than 12 percent by weight and made up of at least 50 percent water insoluble or slow release nitrogen. This is virtually the same as the bill originated in the Assembly by member Steve Englebright, indicating that this is likely to pass.

Kaminsky introduced an amendment to prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) in New York. Earlier this month you should have received a Call to Action email with a link to voice your opposition to this bill. Farms across New York depend on this product to protect their crops from pests and, in many cases, there is no alternative available.

The Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee is looking to ban neonicotinoids in their “Birds & Bees Protection Act.”

A proposed amendment to the Ag & Markets law would require anyone who sells or offers to sell at retail for profit nursery stock or plants and plant products to the public to provide information developed and maintained by the department, either at the point of sale or by providing digital access, about injurious insects, plant diseases, noxious weeds or other pests that may infest or contaminate such stock or plants. NYSNLA opposes this cumbersome labeling requirement

NYSNLA also opposes the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Law provisions, specifically limiting the definition of regular wages to an eight-hour work day, mandating overtime pay for farmworkers and requiring one day of rest per week for agricultural workers.

Advocacy is everyone’s job. Please make your voice heard on issues affecting our industry by telling your state legislators where you stand. Not sure who they are? Visit nyassembly.gov/mem/search/ and www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator to find out.