U.S. Senator Kristen Gillibrand tasked the area's small businesses to help her craft the forthcoming bill.

Senator Gillibrand, who sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee, invited local business owners to a roundtable discussion at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown. Her intent was to seek direct feedback in order to draft the "right provisions" into the forthcoming legislation.

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Photo Credit - Scott Olson / Getty Images

WKTV reports among the crowd were members of the New York State Brewers Association, who stumped for small businesses operating in rural areas.

New York's hidden asset: Craft breweries

Members told Senator Gillibrand the state's craft breweries have created 20,000 full time jobs so far and have already pumped $3.4 billion into New York's economy.

Brewery Ommegang's director of operations, Rick DeBar, expressed concern about the the labor shortage:

One issue we talked about a little bit was just labor, and making sure we have enough people to work in the different positions we have available. We obviously see a lot of seasonal business through Cooperstown, so it’s important to us to have the people in place that we need, to make sure that everyone that comes through here has a wonderful time and enjoys the community.

He also told Senator Gillibrand small businesses are the backbone of America and need to be protected.

What is the Farm Bill?

Senator Gillibrand appreciated the honest feedback from the area's business leaders.

It’s essential for me to hear directly from my constituents about what matters, and what they need help with, so I can write the right provisions.

The plan now is to employ that information to better serve local communities and the employers that keep their economy moving.

Credit - Kelder's Farm via Facebook
Credit - Kelder's Farm via Facebook

As for the upcoming Farm Bill, it's an important piece of legislation that requires reauthorization every 5 years. Its intent is to set "national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy" over the next half decade.

The current version of the bill expires September 30, so the reauthorization process is currently underway.

Part of the process involves senators embarking on listening tours across their state to solicit ideas and proposals to be added to the forthcoming legislation.

If you are unable to attend one of these discussions, you are invited to submit your thoughts via this online form or by emailing FarmBill2023@ag.senate.gov.

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