Albany, NY – The Grow NY Farms Coalition today announced that the Business Council of New York State (BCNYS), the National Federation of Independent Businesses of New York (NFIB), and Upstate United have sent letters to Governor Hochul urging her to maintain the overtime threshold at 60 hours on family farms across New York State.
Letter from the Business Council of New York State, Inc.
Letter from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) New York
Letter from Upstate United
Just a few short weeks ago, Congressman Antonio Delgado, now Lieutenant Governor-designate of New York, also sent a letter to Governor Hochul to express his disapproval regarding the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board’s recommendation to lower the farmworker overtime threshold. Delgado said, “Lowering the threshold over the next ten years from 60 hours per week to 40 hours per week is not mindful of the dynamics of farming.”
Maureen Torrey, Grow NY Farms Coalition Member and Owner of Torrey Farms in Genesee County, said, “Family farms are facing some of the highest diesel, fertilizer, and feed costs in recent memory, and it is clear that any reduction to the current overtime threshold will be catastrophic for farms. Agriculture is an industry unlike any other and farms simply cannot pass these increased costs on to consumers. Maintaining the already negotiated 60-hour overtime threshold is critical to ensuring New York’s farms can retain skilled farmworkers while meeting the demands of local food pantries, school districts, and grocery stores. New York families, the next generation of farmers, and the state’s business community which depends on the success of our diverse agriculture industry, are counting on our elected leaders to make an informed decision. New York State must keep the overtime threshold at 60 hours.”
Heather Briccetti Esq., President & CEO, The Business Council of New York State, said, “The Business Council, while supporting the state’s farming industry, has concerns about lowering the overtime threshold as it would have a negative impact on farms, their workers, production, and ultimately consumers. Our family farms are some of the most rigorously regulated and inspected employers in New York State through the strong workforce protections in place at both the state and federal levels. Given the unique work schedule of farms, we urge the Hochul administration to take a long and hard look at the Wage Board’s recommendation and the consequences that will be felt by New York families, farms, and the economy if the threshold is lowered.”
Ashley Ranslow, NY State Director, NFIB said, “Family farms are critical to New York’s economy by supporting other local businesses, creating jobs, and generating more than $5.7 billion in gross income. Our family-run farms are still contending with increased labor costs, record inflation, high gas prices, enormous UI taxes, and an unpredictable market. Now is not the time to put even more pressure on a strained industry. We are strongly recommending that Gov. Hochul keep the overtime threshold at 60 hours.”
Justin Wilcox, Executive Director of Upstate United said, “Lowering the farm labor overtime threshold to 40 hours is not progressive – it’s problematic. Imposing this mandate would hurt family farms, farm workers and consumers across New York at the worst possible time. It would also be unconscionable for a governor who hails from Upstate New York to crush the family farms that are so essential to Upstate communities. We strongly urge Governor Hochul to stand together with farmers and farm workers and keep the overtime threshold at 60 hours.”
Research conducted by academics and industry experts was presented to the Farm Laborers Wage Board, and links to those presentations, which include data and science-based research, are included below:
Cornell Research Report: Click here to watch a video presentation by Cornell University E. V. Baker Professor of Agricultural Economics Chris Wolf.
Cornell Testimony: Click here to watch a video presentation by Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development Director Dr. Richard Stup.
Farm Credit East Report: Click here to watch a video presentation by Farm Credit East.
To date, more than 150 organizations representing New York’s agriculture industry, including the New York Apple Association, New York Association of Agricultural Educators, New York Farm Bureau, New York State Vegetable Growers Association, Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance, Northeast Dairy Producers Association, and other family farms and ag-related businesses, have joined the Grow NY Farms Coalition. Visit GrowNYFarms.com to learn why family farms and farmworkers are asking Governor Kathy Hochul to maintain the current overtime threshold at 60 hours.