Assemblymember Barrett Introduces the Working Farm Protection Act to Make Farmland More Accessible to Working Farmers
Bill A.10301A would strengthen New York’s farmland protection program by funding conservation easements that protect the affordability of land for working farmers
Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Columbia, Dutchess) was joined in Albany today by The National Young Farmers Coalition, New York Farm Bureau, American Farmland Trust, Scenic Hudson, local farmers and land trusts from around the state to take a stand for farmers with the introduction of the Working Farm Protection Act. The Act would strengthen the State’s Farmland Protection Implementation Grant Program by funding conservation easements that make farmland permanently affordable to working farmers.
“Agriculture has seen a rebirth in the Hudson Valley and New York farms are increasingly feeding our families and stocking our farmers markets and restaurants,” said Assemblymember Barrett. “I have introduced The Working Farm Protection Act, A10301A, to strengthen the existing Farmland Protection Grant Program and help make farmland more accessible to young farmers. I am also pleased to announce that Senator Patty Ritchie (R- Jefferson, Oswego, St. Lawrence), Chair of the State Senate Agriculture Committee, will carry the bill in the Senate. With this bipartisan effort, I am hopeful that we can provide a permanent path to farm ownership for our young farmers during this legislative session.”
Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D - Columbia, Dutchess) announced this week a new initiative to train and inspire a new generation of skilled trades people to work on our region’s sizable stock of old and historic buildings. Along with partners at New York State Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; Dutchess County; Dutchess County Community College; Dutchess BOCES, and the not-for-profit preservation group HistoriCorps, local students are getting hands on experience restoring buildings in the historic Quiet Cove Park site in Poughkeepsie. The county park on land owned by New York State will become a vibrant recreation area with kayak rentals and piers on the water.
Given the tremendous number of historic homes and other sites in the Hudson Valley, this initiative has the capacity to transformation not only Quiet Cove, but also the regional economy as well as the lives of young people who can build a solid career in construction trades with particular expertise in preservation and restoration.
“This initiative is about developing a skilled workforce, attracting and keeping young people and restoring, preserving and maintaining our region’s rich historic legacy,” said Assemblymember Barrett. “With the vast array of historic structures in our region, both public and private, Dutchess County and the Hudson Valley are uniquely positioned to lead the state and nation in historic trades. Training these students now arms them with the technical skills, business knowledge and historic understanding to establish and sustain long careers in this field. I’m so grateful to our visionary partners who brought us to this launch at Quiet Cove.”
In the wake of Amtrak’s proposal to construct fencing along portions of the railroad’s Empire corridor along the Hudson River between Rhinebeck and Stuyvesant, Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Columbia, Dutchess)submitted a letter to the Department of State (DOS) calling on the state to require public hearings to ensure transparency and communication with residents.
“As the Assemblymember representing several of the towns along this route, I join Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson, as well as the Supervisors of Germantown, Livingston, Clermont, Stockport, and Stuyvesant, in their call for Amtrak and the DOS to hold public information meetings in the affected communities,” said Barrett.
DOS originally announced only a two-week public comment period, which would have ended on March 28th. However, after backlash from various communities, DOS agreed to move the public comment period to May 1.
Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D - Columbia, Dutchess), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, announced that the 2018-19 state budget provides a significant increase in funding for library construction grants to help local libraries make much-needed facility upgrades and enhance services. This total of $34 million is an increase of $10 million over last year, and a significant boost in the State’s overall commitment to libraries.
“Our libraries are playing an increasingly critical role in all our communities -- rural, urban and suburban,” Barrett said. “Whether it’s providing internet, workforce prep, homework help or simply fellowship, we need libraries that are accessible and technologically sophisticated to meet the needs of our diverse populations in 21st century New York.”
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