Commissioner Richard Ball

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball addresses the crowd gathered at Empire Farm Days Wednesday, Aug. 9 in Seneca Falls to learn about the Beginning Farm program. 

State officials will embark on a farm bill listening tour to develop New York's priorities for the important federal agriculture legislation. 

The first listening session will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Watertown, state Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball announced Thursday. 

A second forum is planned for noon Monday, Oct. 16 in the hospitality suite at Morrisville State College's Athletic Stadium. 

Additional sessions will be scheduled in the coming weeks, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. 

"We are looking forward to launching this tour and hearing directly from the community on the 2018 farm bill," Ball said. "We will bring all thoughts and concerns directly back to Albany, which will help the state advance its policy goals as we move forward." 

The farm bill is a federal law that outlines national agricultural policies and provides funding for key initiatives, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 

The current farm bill will expire at the end of 2018. Congressional leaders are beginning discussions about the legislation. 

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher, who will appear at the first session in Watertown, said he will relay the organization's objectives for the next farm bill. 

"The legislation has a profound impact on agriculture policy, conservation, farm safety nets and nutrition in this country, and it is vital for New York to be engaged in the conversation as the legislation comes together in Washington," Fisher said. 

The public is invited to attend the listening sessions. Written comments may be submitted to farmbill@agriculture.ny.gov

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