Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: Expanded barley crop insurance will benefit NY breweries, farms

July 25, 2016 GMT

A recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help New York growers and craft beverage producers, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Friday.

Barley crop insurance was only available for farmers in a minority of New York’s 62 counties. The USDA will now make the program available for farms in 29 more New York counties by 2017, according to Gillibrand’s office.

Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said expanding the program will help the craft beverage industry, particularly breweries that need barley to make beer.

For farm breweries, it will ensure the producers can abide by a state law requiring a certain percentage of their beverages are made with New York-grown products.

“This is great news for our farmers, who can finally feel secure if they decide to grow barley, and it is great news for our brewers, who will have access to a large and reliable supply of barley,” said Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

To celebrate the USDA’s announcement, Gillibrand visited Full Boar Craft Brewery in North Syracuse. The brewery, which opened in June, is one of several new craft beverage producers in central New York.

Eric Petranchuk, co-owner and brewmaster at Full Boar, said finding grains grown in New York can be difficult.

“It’s either very expensive or poor quality,” Petranchuk said. “Giving farmers access to the necessary insurance to protect themselves should lead to more growers, better quality and lower prices for brewers.”

Gillibrand’s swing through upstate New York Friday also included a roundtable discussion at Abandon Brewing Company in Penn Yan. The senator held a roundtable discussion to collect input that will be used to draft the next farm bill.

Prior to passage of the last Farm Bill, which came in 2014, Gillibrand held similar roundtable discussions to get feedback from farmers and other interested parties.

“The next farm bill is still two years away, but we must address our farmers’ current problems while looking forward to make the farm bill as strong as possible,” she said.