Over the past 10 growing seasons or so there have been a number of weather disasters that have struck agriculture in NYS, as well as the northeast, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars of crop losses over the years.
The USDA crop insurance program has a number of problems (e-mail and I can explain in detail) and federal disaster aid is too dependant on politics for passage. While New Jersey and Pennslyvania have passed significant ag disaster aid packages over the years NYS has passed only a miniscule amount of assistance in comparison. This is so especially when one considers how important agriculture is to the NYS economy. Farmers in NYS need more help from the NYS government.
Here is the idea. We call on the State of New York to create a permanent agriculturural disaster aid fund. Initial state funding would be provided by the state. The fund would be run much like the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. A commission would be set up with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats with the Governor being the tie breaking vote. The money would be managed by a large trust company. Unlike the Alaska fund, the dividends would not be paid back to the citizens, but would be reinvested by the commission to ensure a maximum return. Then, when farmers in New York State suffer various weather disasters New York State will be able to assist farmers by drawing on this fund. After the initial funding there would be no additional cost to the taxpayer, as the fund would be self-perpetuating.
- Submitted by Chris Pawelski on 12.17.06