Dairy and Specialty Crops Take Center Stage as Ag Committee Kicks Off Farm Bill Discussions

Mar 9, 2012

Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184

SARANAC LAKE, NEW YORK – Today, Chairman Frank Lucas held a field hearing in Saranac Lake, New York. It was the first of a series to be held throughout March and April to gather input in advance of writing the 2012 Farm Bill.

Members heard testimony from producers in the northeastern United States on the future of farm policy.

New York is home to a range of agricultural industries, and is among the nation's top producers of a variety of specialty crops and dairy products. The hearing focused on policies impacting those industries in particular.

"Field hearings are an invaluable part of the Farm Bill process. They give us an opportunity to hear from a wide variety of producers across the country so we get diverse perspectives on farm policy. I'm grateful to the witnesses who testified today. Their input will help us craft a strong Farm Bill that serves all of American agriculture," said Chairman Frank Lucas.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for New York to make its voice heard as Congress crafts the next Farm Bill. Farms across our state sell more than $4 billion in produce annually, but the economic impact is far greater. The strength of this industry is critical to economic stability and growth – when farms thrive, so do the businesses they interact with, from local farm equipment dealers to grocery stores. I would like to thank Committee Chairman Frank Lucas for making the trip to the North Country to gain a better understanding of the unique needs of New York agriculture," said Rep. William L. Owens (D-NY).

“I appreciated the opportunity to have a diverse group of our local farmers testify in front of the members of the Agriculture Committee.  I’ve always felt that New York is home to the hardest working farmers in the country, and I think it was invaluable in advance of our work writing the next Farm Bill to have the committee hear from our local family farmers about their regional needs and perspectives. Additionally, I particularly appreciate the willingness of the Chairman to come to Saranac Lake for this hearing,” said Rep. Christopher Gibson (R-NY).


Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below.

Witness List:

Panel I

Mr. Eric Ooms, dairy producer, Partner, Adrian Ooms and Sons, Inc., Old Chatham, New York

Mr. Neal Rea, dairy producer, Chairman, Agri-Mark Dairy Cooperative, Salem, New York

Mr. Jeremy Verratti, dairy and crop producer, Verratti Farms, LLC, Gasport, New York

Ms. Michele Ledoux, beef producer, Adirondack Beef Company, Croghan, New York

Panel II

Mr. Larry Eckhardt, vegetable, field crop and beef producer, President, Kinderhook Creek Farm, Inc., Stephentown, New York

Mr. Scott Osborn, wine grape producer, President, Fox Run Vineyard, Inc., Penn Yan, New York

Mr. Ralph Child, seed potato and leafy greens producer, Malone, New York

Mr. Adam Sullivan, apple producer, Sullivan Orchards, Peru, New York

Schedule for future field hearings:

Friday, March 23, 2012 – 9:00 a.m. CDT
Carl Sandburg College, Student Center Building B
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.
Galesburg, IL 61401

Friday, March 30, 2012 – 9:00 a.m. CDT
Riceland Hall, Fowler Center
Arkansas State University
201 Olympic Drive
State University, AR 72467

Friday, April 20, 2012 – 9:00 a.m. CDT
Magouirk Conference Center
4100 W. Comanche
Dodge City, KS 67801