Leaders from New York’s Farm Bureau outlined their national public policy priorities for the year Wednesday morning.
Immigration is the big issue that David Fisher says has been on the top of their priorities list for years now.
Fisher is the Bureau’s President and says so much of the discussion has focused on border security.
"We do not disagree that having a secure border is important, but the rest of the issue cannot be ignored. There must be a system in place for people who want to work on our farms. These reforms should allow for current, trained workers to stay on farms and maintain a consistent workforce to plant and harvest crops and care for livestock."
The group is also seeking changes to the H2-A program that allows immigrants to work seasonal positions on U.S. farms.
Fisher says they hope to expand that to areas that need fulltime workers such as the dairy industry here in New York.
Lauren Williams is the Bureau's Senior Associate Director of National Affairs and talked about how the United States’ relationship with China is affecting farmers.
She says while that mostly hits soybean farms in the Midwest, anything that affects farmers in the country ripples across regions.
"We don’t ship as many apples to China that Washington State does but that all piles back into the US if those markets are not available for those other states that are shipping those big products to other countries."
Williams also talked about the need for better rural infrastructure, including broadband internet access. She said internet isn’t a luxury any more as it is a necessity and something she believes can be agreed on across party lines.
Some New York Farmers will be heading to DC in March to advocate for these issues.