Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau, released the following statement:
"New York's farmers understand the value of hard work for a good day's pay, but that pay must come from somewhere. Increasing the minimum wage at a time when a farmer is paying sky-high prices for fuel and feed will only add to the daily burden farmers are facing to make a living for their families.
"In addition, farm families are being hit with increasing costs from unemployment insurance surcharges, energy taxes, and the cost of meeting the new health care mandates under the affordable care act. Unfortunately, farmers do not have the ability in this global marketplace for food to simply charge more for their products to cover the increases, nor will a minimum wage worker purchase gallons more of milk at the grocery store to help our farmers offset the wage hike through increased demand for their products.
"If the minimum wage is to rise, something else must fall, and New York farmers are asking lawmakers to sincerely consider a 2 percent cap on agricultural land assessment. Currently, ag. land prices are hitting the 10 percent cap each year. With rising property values come rising property taxes. According to Farm Credit East, farmers in this state pay $26.21/acre in property taxes - that is nearly $20 more than the national average. Farmers need the same relief the governor and lawmakers so fairly provided homeowners two years ago. We must control costs to keep the barn doors open in this state so our farmers can continue feeding their neighbors and the world the healthy, local food they enjoy."