New York Wine & GrapeNews



Field Notes ~Why Order One Drink When You Can Get a Bucket of Them at Kāwi? ~‘It’s Complicated’: Understanding Volatile Acidity and Its Role in Wine ~The Lioness of Cayuga Lake

Amy Ellsworth

Category: Industry

Field Notes ~

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New York Agriculture faces incoming headwinds and also opportunities to propel forward. The social and environmental consciousness of voters compelled our State Legislature to enact policy this past legislative session to provide farm workers more protections and rights, eliminate the use of certain pesticides, and adopt an aggressive plan to take action on climate change. Without a doubt, these new policies will have a material effect on the agriculture industry’s business costs and difficult decisions will need to be made.
These policy changes also present an opportunity for the agriculture industry to build on its statewide leadership position. A mentor of mine often repeated a peculiar phrase, “Press into the resistance until it bleeds life!” I like this phrase because it challenges one to transform discomfort into new possibilities. The State Legislature recognizes that these policy changes will not be comfortable, yet agriculture will remain an important part of our State’s economy. Assembly Agriculture Chair Donna Lupardo successfully advanced legislation to create an Agriculture Investment Task ForceThis short-term group will examine issues such as workforce development, environmental and climate impacts, and the potential for savings through tax credits, housing funds, energy efficiency upgrades. The task force’s goal is to enter next year’s budget discussions with tangible solutions that will help protect and grow our agricultural economy.
This past January at the New York Agriculture Society’s Annual Forum, a keynote speaker said, “The world belongs to those who show up.” I highlight Assemblywoman Lupardo’s task force because it presents an opportunity to get involved. Beyond her task force, there are endless ways to get involved to ensure that agriculture remains a leader and its voice is heard. The public policy team at the New York Farm Bureau effectively advocates on behalf of our industry, and I find membership with the Farm Bureau so important that I maintain my own personal membership with the Long Island Farm Bureau. Wine America ensures that progressive policy advances in Washington to improve the business climate for the wine industry. And, the New York Wine Industry Association won several critical legislative battles this past year. Bottom line is these organizations cannot be effective and proactively represent our industry without an engaged and involved membership.
Senator Chuck Schumer joined by Jim Trezise (Wine America President), Erica Paolicelli (NYWIA President), Oskar Bynke (NYWGF Board Member), Scott Osborn (Wine America Board Member), Ruth Osborn (Fox Run Vineyards), and Steve Griffin (CEO FLEDC) to push for change in canned wine regulations. Photo by Kelli Shaffner, Fox Run Vineyards.
I also see opportunities for the agriculture industry to take a leading seat in the conversation around climate change. The American Farmland Trust convened an Agriculture and Climate Policy Meeting on June 27th, where they gathered agriculture leaders from across the state to determine agriculture’s strategic role in the State’s recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”  Whitney Beaman, Program Manager for Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing, who attended on behalf of our industry, heard a presentation by Peter Woodbury, Senior Research Associate at Cornell University, who remarked that, “While agriculture causes just 4 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in New York and 8 percent nationally, scientists have found that proper land use techniques like cover cropping and improved fertilizer use, can reduce 21 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.” 
Clearly New York and the world needs agriculture to exert a leadership role in the climate change conversation. As part the State’s climate change legislation, the Legislature created a 22-member Climate Action Council that will develop a plan within two years to determine how exactly the state will reach emission reduction benchmarks and there will be a five-person agriculture advisory panel. This council represents yet another opportunity for proactive participation from the grape and wine industry.
I am optimistic about the future for agriculture in New York State. NYWGF will continue to support the economic development of the grape and wine industry through investments in research and marketing. We are excited to share our annual report from the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year, which details the ways that we leveraged public and private sector support to advance our industry. As always, we welcome your thoughts, ideas, and feedback as we continue to evolve NYWGF into an effective partner the grape and wine industry.
Sam Filler, Executive Director
New York Wine & Grape Foundation