I am so honored to be asked to serve again for the 16th year and for the fifth Congress member for the 22nd Congressional District’s Agricultural Advisory Committee. I serve as a dairy, livestock and smaller dairy cooperative representative. I have served in this capacity since 2007 to present. I first served Michael Acuri (2007-2011), then Richard Hanna (2011-17), then Claudia Tenney (2017-19), then Anthony Brindisi (2019-21), then Tenney again (2021-23) and now our current Congressman, Brandon Williams.

Williams hosted his first of many meetings at SUNY Morrisville, where he met with other agricultural leaders in the 22nd District. Represented both conventionally and organically were fruit, vegetable, dairy, corn, soybean, wheat, grapes and forestry, along with dairy cooperatives, processors, Farm Bureau leaders, Marty Broccoli from Oneida County Ag Economic Development and two retired ag teachers. The 22nd District is made up of all of Oneida, Madison, Cortland and Chenango counties – counties where agriculture is a major part of the economy.

The meeting was to meet and greet all the movers and shakers in Williams’s district and to inform him on what is important to us here for the 2023 Farm Bill that he will be voting on and adopting this year. The Farm Bill impacts all U.S. farmers for the next five years. Some of the government policies the Farm Bill will have in it include the dairy pricing formula, conservation cost sharing programs, soil erosion, water and air quality programs, support pricing programs on all ag commodities and agriculture teaching programs.

The Farm Bill also provides a financial safety net to the agricultural sector, such as the Dairy Margin Coverage program and Crop Insurance. The Farm Service Agency is funded by and administers these programs and it covers agricultural migrant labor issues also.

This Farm Bill impacts our farms’ economics and livelihoods here in our county and throughout all of America but only 15% of it – the remaining 85% is for nutritional programs such SNAP and school lunch programs.

So we farmers here in Central New York really do have a voice in Washington and I am honored to represent our area and work with Congressman Williams. He realizes that ag is the largest and most important industry in his district. Williams is planning another meet and greet in Boonville on May 1 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (location to be decided soon) to listen to the concerns of the farmers and citizens of the Boonville area. Watch the Boonville Herald or listen to the Moose Radio station for updates.

He’ll host another meeting on May 11 at Rome’s Lyndon Strough Middle School at 6:30 p.m. If anyone has ag issues or ag recommendations and you are unable to attend these meetings you can call Williams’s office in Utica 315.732.0713 or myself at 315.525.6432.

by Ben Simons