Collins: Agriculture is Key Component of Economy

Congressional candidate uses visits to underscore importance of agriculture

Chris Collins talks with Marquart Farms owner Thomas Marquardt during a tour of his Wyoming County farm on Wednesday.

Highlighting the importance of local agriculture, congressional candidate Chris Collins visited two farms in Wyoming County this week. Collins spent time with both Tom Marquart of Marquart Farms in Gainesville and Tom Swyers of Gardeau Crest Farms in Perry. The family owned and operated farms are two of the 36,000 farms spread all across New York State. Collins used his visit to the potato and dairy farms to talk about the need to support agriculture in New York State, and how farmers in the 27th Congressional District are vital to the local economy. The newly drawn district spans Western New York and the Finger Lakes and includes all or part of Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, and Wyoming counties.

“Family farming is a way of life in the 27th Congressional District, and all across our great country,” said Collins. “It’s also a major driver of our state’s economy with agriculture pumping in billions of dollars each year. A thriving agricultural sector in New York helps create jobs, not only in agriculture directly, but in the multitude of other industries impacted by the success of our farmers. And a strong, local farming community helps ensure that much of what we put on the table every day for our families is produced or grown in our own backyard.”

Farming is a major component of the local economy in the 27th Congressional District. According to the latest Census of Agriculture, there are more than 6,000 farms spread across the eight counties that make up the 27th Congressional District. Approximately one-quarter of all of New York’s land is used for agricultural purposes. Milk is the State’s leading agricultural product with a value of $2.2 billion in 2010. More milk is produced in Wyoming County than anywhere else in New York. The State’s apple crop ranks second nationally for production worth $223 million in 2010.

“Farming is hard business,” continued Collins. “It requires dedication and perseverance. I know because my daughter is part of a family farm in her home state of Virginia. Farmers need a federal government on their side. Instead, President Obama and his friends in Congress keep trying to impose more regulations and bureaucratic hurdles for farmers to jump over. Just recently, the Obama White House tried to implement a proposal that would ban children from performing many common chores on family-owned farms. Thankfully, this latest example of ridiculous overreach was blocked. But it proves that the President and many in Congress are totally out of touch with rural America and the proud tradition of family farming.”

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