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Future of agricultural policy discussed during 2018 Farm Bill Listening Tour held at Morrisville State College

MORRISVILLE, NY—Community members from across the state joined the Morrisville State College campus community to engage with New York’s agricultural leaders during the 2018 Farm Bill Listening Tour hosted by the college Monday. 

Morrisville State College President David Rogers provided the event’s opening remarks to the packed crowd, which included Morrisville students, faculty and staff in addition to various stakeholders from throughout New York. 

The multi-stop listening tour provides Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his cabinet the opportunity to gather feedback from constituents within their communities regarding the 2018 New York State Farm Bill, a multiyear law that governs an array of agricultural and food programs. The comments gathered on the tour will serve as the basis of the bill, helping shape the priorities for funding and policy changes in the areas of agriculture, nutrition and the environment.  

“Our notion is to listen to you and take back what you bring up to the governor and to our leadership in Washington,” said Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets Richard Ball, who led Monday’s session. 

Joining Ball was Basil Seggos, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and Barbara Guinn, executive deputy commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). The tour is hosted jointly by all three agencies. 

“We want to be here for you,” Seggos said. “We want to make sure we’re doing all we can to protect your livelihood.” 

New York State Senator David Valesky, Assemblyman William Magee and New York Farm Bureau Associate Director of National Affairs Elizabeth Wolters also spoke at the event, held at the hospitality suite of Morrisville State College’s Athletic Stadium. 

“Our No. 1 priority is to listen and hear your thoughts on what we can do for New York’s No. 1 industry of agriculture,” Magee said. 

One of the key areas impacted by the Farm Bill includes the growth of the industrial hemp industry. Morrisville State College has pioneered the reintroduction of hemp to New York State after dedicating more than 80 acres of farmland for the experimentation of growing hemp as a commercial crop. 

“It’s great to be back at Morrisville,” Ball said. “It’s not just one of the best state colleges, but also a great partner with some of the best agriculture programs in the state. Thank you for your help in the hemp research program.” 

The 2018 Farm Bill, which also impacts certain areas of study at Morrisville such as dairy, land conservation, forestry and food safety, would replace the existing Agricultural Act of 2014, the most recent farm bill set to expire at the end of 2018. 

“We want to make sure it reflects the times,” Ball said. “We want to keep pace with the economy and changes in agriculture.” 

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Morrisville State College’s curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs. 

The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit