(ALBANY, NY) – As she enters her eighth term representing the 123rd Assembly District, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo will take on a new leadership position. Speaker Carl Heastie announced Tuesday that he has selected Lupardo to Chair the Committee on Agriculture for the 2019-2020 legislative session.
“It’s an honor to be given the responsibility of leading such an important committee in the State Assembly,” said Lupardo. “Agriculture is a major part of New York’s economy, especially in Upstate. This is a very important time for the New York farmers, producers, and manufacturers, as we are relying more on locally grown products.”
Lupardo has previously worked on a number of agricultural issues including growing the state’s craft beverage industry, promoting local food systems, and securing funding for the construction of the Agriculture Development Center at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County and SUNY Broome’s School of Culinary Arts. She is best known in recent years for passing legislation to create and support New York’s industrial hemp industry. The state’s hemp program has positioned New York to take full advantage of the legalization of the crop at the federal level, which is poised to take effect when the recently passed 2018 US Farm Bill is signed into law. New York is currently the fifth-largest grower of hemp in the United States.
Agriculture is worth more than $5 billion in NYS, where there are more than 35,000 farms encompassing more than seven million acres; it is also responsible for nearly 200,000 jobs across the state. New York ranks as a national leader in a number of crops and products including yogurt, cheese, and sour cream (first); apples, maple syrup, and snap peas (second); and dairy cows, milk production, and grapes (third). Leaders in the agriculture industry at the state and local levels applauded Lupardo’s assignment to the committee.
“On behalf of our farmer members, I would like to congratulate Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo on her appointment as the Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President. “She has a long history of supporting farmers in her district and recognizes the important role they play in the rural economy. We look forward to collaborating with her in the new session to advance legislation that will benefit every farmer in New York State.”
“I am pleased to learn that Assemblywoman Lupardo will be the next Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee,” said Victoria Giarratano, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County. “Donna has worked tirelessly in the Southern Tier to bring attention to many agriculture initiatives; she understands the complexities of agriculture and the role research and education play to support this industry. Her assignment to this role will result in a better agriculture economy for New York State.”
Lupardo has already identified a number of priority areas including farm sustainability; emerging crops like industrial hemp and hops; and supporting community programs such as farm to school, farmers markets, and urban gardens. She also views agriculture as a way to revitalize our lagging manufacturing sector by encouraging local processing options and the production of finished goods. As she takes over the Agriculture Committee, Lupardo recognized outgoing Chair, Assemblyman Bill Magee for his years of service to the committee.
“For 18 years, Assemblyman Magee has been a strong advocate for New York’s agricultural industry,” Lupardo said. “I sincerely appreciate his dedication to our farmers and producers, and I look forward to continuing to build on those strong relationships.”
Agriculture will be the third committee that Lupardo has Chaired; she led the Aging Committee for the last two years, and the Committee on Children and Families for four years prior to that. The Assemblywoman will also continue to serve on the Economic Development, Higher Education, Tourism, and Transportation Committees.