New York's Farm Bureau is establishing its top priorities for 2024. They include the switch to electric, producer responsibilities, budget funding and getting food into New York schools. 

Through the Nourish New York and Healthy School Meals for All programs, the bureau says there is a way for both farms and you to benefit. Nourish New York is locally grown food in pantries and food banks purchased from farms. Healthy School Meals involves local farms providing food for school breakfasts and lunches. The bureau wants to see those programs grow and get fully funded.

The next one is a controversial topic for many, and that has to do with the switch to electric. The Farm Bureau says it understands that farmers must do their part to support a healthy climate. However, it says going fully electric can't happen until there are reliable battery-powered tractors and machinery for farms.

"We just need a common sense reliable energy policy and not go too far, too fast," said David Fisher, president of the New York Farm Bureau. "We must get this right for the sake of food production."

Farmers are also calling for recycling to be incentivized. Current legislation puts the cost and responsibility of recycling packaging onto those who produce it, such as food processors and farms that use glass bottles, milk containers and other food packaging. Family farms don’t have the capacity to cover this financially and it could make your grocery trip more expensive.

Budget funding was also a highlight of the bureau's priorities this year. It matters for the environment, animal health and research programs that farmers use. It also supports workforce development, farm safety and helps modernize dairy infrastructure.

The bureau is also prioritizing legislation that would allow direct-to-consumer shipping for all New York-produced farm beverages, including beer, cider and spirits.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has already taken some steps to help farmers, saying on Tuesday that the Farm Employer Overtime Credit portal is open for farmers. They can start registering to receive tax credits later this year.