ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Malt barley farmers in 44 upstate New York counties are now eligible for crop insurance from the federal government.

Malt barley is a necessary ingredient in beer and spirits, and the lack of crop insurance had hindered expansion of the craft brewing industry in New York.

Last year, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer successfully pushed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to bring malt barley insurance to farmers in four New York counties and argued it should be expanded.

The state now has approximately 2,000 acres of malt barley. Because of New York's Farm Brewing Law, it is estimated malt barley production will have to grow fifteen-fold in the next decade to meet the needs of New York brewers and distillers.

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