New York Food Supply Working Group
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Overview

The Department has coordinated with Empire State Development and New York’s land grant university system to convene the New York Food Supply Working Group, in accordance with chapter 24 of the laws of 2021. In the spring of 2021, the Working Group solicited public comment during an open comment session on improving the resiliency and self-reliance of the state’s farm and food supply and the related supply chain logistics. Comments will be used in a report that will define recommendations and make other observations relating to New York State’s food supply resiliency and self-reliance.

Purpose

Pursuant to legislation passed by the New York State Assembly and Senate and approved by Former Governor Cuomo, the New York Food Supply Working Group will prepare a report on improving the resiliency and self-reliance of the state’s farm and food supply. This report will consider supply chain logistics to address food shortages, food waste and the inability to get New York farm goods to markets that occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of this effort and the report is to define recommendations and make other observations relating to New York State’s food supply resiliency and self-reliance. The report is due on December 1, 2021.

In preparation of the report, the following issues shall be considered:

  • The need to strengthen the resiliency and self-reliance of the state’s farm and food supply and related supply chain logistics, to prevent food shortages and food waste, and to overcome hurdles involved in getting farm products to markets and consumers,
  • The need for changes to, and development of, new state and federal laws, rules, policies, and programs to address, and provide incentives for, the goal of strengthening and improving the state food supply in a manner that benefits New York farms, food businesses, workers, retailers, restaurants, food banks, and consumers

Open Comment Period

An open comment period was held beginning on March 24, 2021. The open comment period was an opportunity for stakeholders including individuals, organizations and businesses to share information that may be considered in the development of the report. This public comment did not seek comment on proposed regulations or pending regulatory considerations. Any comments provided pursuant to this announcement will be made public and may be reviewed and discussed in any roundtable or other sessions held relating to this legislation. Given the scope of this project and the report, and as a non-regulatory process, a specific response to each commenter’s recommendation will not be possible.

Comments were invited by all interested parties. In accordance with the legislation, comments were specifically welcome from representatives of the food supply chain from different regions of the state including:

  • women and minority-owned and small and family owned businesses and farms;
  • organic and conventional farmers;
  • food processors including but not limited to dairy, produce, meat, and beverage processors;
  • retail food businesses including but not limited to, retail food stores and direct farm-consumer businesses,
  • food service industry including restaurants and institutional foodservice,
  • food wholesalers and distributors;
  • food transporters including but not limited to direct to consumer transporters serving retail food stores, foodservice and farmers;
  • emergency food providers including but not limited to food banks;
  • academic experts in food production, marketing, distribution, food safety and consumers;
  • local, state and federal agencies with responsibility for food production, processing, marketing, and safety; and
  • other representatives of agriculture, the food industry or economic development.

Comments providing specific insights were welcome on issues relating to farm and food resiliency including those relating to the following: 

  • loss of markets for farmers, processors and handlers;
  • farm to consumer direct marketing opportunities and changes;
  • ensuring worker safety;
  • food chain roadblocks, limitations and disruptions;
  • food shortages and the implications to food insecure individuals and families and emergency food providers;
  • changes in consumer purchases, grocery store demand and supply chain disruptions;
  • disruptions to the food service industry and restaurants; and
  • prevention of food waste.