Grassroots the voice of new york agriculture


april 2016

Final State Budget Dramatically Increases New York?s Minimum Wage

Beneficial Budget Actions Overshadowed by Wage Increase on Farms

By Jeff Williams The 2016-17 State Budget was finalized by the Governor and Legislature at the last possible moment on March 31, before the start of the new fiscal year, and the document does not spell good things for agriculture. There are positives for the farm industry in the final budget document, such as funding for critical farm research and promotional programs, increased funding for agricultural environmental projects and upstate road and bridge infrastructure. New funding for secondary agricultural education programs and county fair infrastructure were also included in the final document. However, in the end, a dramatically increased minimum By Jaclyn (Sears) Zaleski The Peterson Farm Brothers, from Assaria, KS, have learned a thing or two about projecting a positive image of agriculture over the past few years. What started as a joke at a Sonic drive-thru in 2012 quickly became a heavily viewed and entertaining parody video, ?I?m Farming and I Grow It,? that was shared and seen by individuals worldwide nearly ten million times. Since then, they have a number of different parody videos, have spoken across the United States and the globe, all while two of them attend college and they all work on and help run their family farm. The Peterson Farm Brothers were the keynote speakers at New York Farm Bureau?s Celebration of Agriculture Conference in Syracuse in March. They spoke to nearly 200 attendees from a variety of age groups. The totally unexpected rise to internet fame was not only a surprise to these farm boys from rural Kansas, but it became a phenomenal platform for them to spread a positive message about wage and a most-generous-in-thenation paid family leave program will leave farms upstate and on Long Island grasping for ideas on how to compete against farms in other states and countries with much lower labor costs, tax burdens and business expenses. Upstate, the minimum wage will be phased-in over five years, starting in 2017, to $12.50 an hour and then will increase each year according to a formula based upon economic factors and the rate of inflation developed by the Department of Labor and Division of Budget. The new phased-in wage will start on December 31st of this year and increase by 70 cents each year for five years in Upstate New York. On Continued on page 25

Encouraging Discussions About Agriculture Through Humor: The Peterson Farm Brothers

The Peterson Farm Brothers deliver the keynote address at New York Farm Bureau?s 2016 Celebration of Agriculture Conference in March in Syracuse. agriculture, how they farm, and why they do it. Their sense of humor along with the deeply ingrained knowledge of their family farm and agriculture turned into humorous yet factual videos of day to day operations on a farm in the mid-west. The videos help to explain their way of life to their more suburban or urban friends and followers. All three brothers?Greg, Nathan, and Kendal Peterson? either went to school for agriculture or are currently attending school for agriculture at Kansas State University. All three brothers monitor all of their social media pages; especially if there is any Continued on page 25

NYS Agriculture Program Budget Breakdown Page 13 Agricultural Youth Scholarship Winners Page 15

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