Farm bill a boost to NY apple, maple producers - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Farm bill a boost to NY apple, maple producers

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After years of waiting, the farm bill passed the House of Representatives last week, and is expected to pass in the Senate soon. The bill will have a strong impact on many northern New York farms.

The farm bill could mean thousands in savings each year for apple farmers like Peter Forrence in Peru, New York. The bill eliminates a costly and time consuming inspection before his apples can cross the border into Canada."I mean that's pretty significant savings, on an industry that works on very, very thin margins, so, it's a big help," Forrence said.

Representative Bill Owens (D-New York) worked on the apple inspection changes and two other provisions in the farm bill affecting maple farms, and farms up and coming. "Getting something that is positively going to affect northern New York dairy farmers and really the whole northeast is very important," Owens said.

One of the provisions Owens pushed for makes changes to the Farm Service Agency, which broadens the types of businesses that can qualify for loans. "We also got in a maple syrup bill which will enhance maple syrup production and also it's marketing," Owens said.

At Parker Family Maple in West Chazy, sugarmaker Michael Parker says less than one percent of maple trees in New York are currently being tapped for syrup. Under the bill, $20 million would go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help market the sweet stuff across the country. "Education, promotion and research of the maple industry -- that's really what we need. We're making some very big crops of syrup now and we need some help to sell the syrup, so this is just great news for the industry as a whole," Parker said.

Great news for all types of farms, in all types of places.

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