Saturday, August 30, 2014

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Mohawk Valley

Several state legislators push for relief for farmers after frost

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Albany/HV: Several state legislators push for relief for farmers after frost
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Statewide, it's estimated that more than three-million acres of farmland were affected by frost earlier this year. Our Beth Croughan visited an apple farm that suffered extreme damage and has more on what some state legislators are doing to try and help.

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. -- "Normally we would see them all over the tree. But there aren't a lot of them this year because they just couldn't grow due to the cold," explained Isabel Prescott, the owner of Riverview Orchards in Clifton Park.

Instead of seeing lots of little apples, Prescott has found bare branches. She said many of the buds didn't survive this spring. "Well what happened is in March we had a lot of warm weather. And then toward the end of March, we had a big frost," she said.

It was a frost so severe, Prescott estimated she lost about 75 percent of her apple crop.

And it's a loss several republican state legislators are hoping to help her and other farmers alike, make up.

Sunday, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, Senator Hugh Farley, Assemblyman George Amedore and Assemblyman Pete Lopez visited Prescott's orchard to announce the "Family Farmers and Apple Growers Relief Act."

"This is a year where we had such wild weather. Almost was a trifecta. The Irene, the frost and then we had the hail. They may not be able to come back from that, these small family farms," said Tedisco.

If passed, the bill which has been introduced in the senate by Agriculture Chair Patty Ritchie; would give farmers a tax credit for 35 percent of their losses from the frost.

"This is a personal income tax credit regardless of what other income maybe coming in," explained Senate Agriculture Committee Director Todd Kusnierz when asked about insurance.

This is a credit Prescott believes will help her with the businesses bottom line, a business that has been in her family for four generations. "It's tough. But I've always been a very optimistic person. And so I figure we can weather this as well as anything else," she said of how she's handling the loss.

According Cornell's Lake Erie Regional Research Lab, about half of the state's apple crop is estimated to have been affected. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP