Posted at: 06/03/2012 11:25 PM
By: by Dan Bazile
CLIFTON PARK - The apple crop should be a lot further along by this time of year. Trees at the Riverview Orchard in Clifton Park are barely producing the fruit. Owner Isabel Prescott says the wacky weather in the beginning of the growing season this year had a lot to do with it.
Prescott says the trees blossomed during the warm weather, but then on March 26, temperatures went down to 17 degrees. That, she says was followed by several cold nights. At first she thought maybe the apples had survived it, but then the fruits did not grow.
As a result Riverview Orchard lost about 75% of its apple crop this year. Prescott says when your business depends on the weather, you don't have much control. But it's been pretty consistent for the most part. She's only seen one bad harvest over the past 70 years of the three generation family farm's existence.
Farmers across New York State are in the same boat. That's why some local lawmakers came together to create legislation to help the farmers weather the storm.
Assemblyman James Tedisco says there is 75% potential they may not be able to stay in existence as a family farm, and that would be a cultural, economic, and tourism tragedy.
The state lawmakers, along with agricultural and business, announced the Family Farmers and Apple Growers Relief Act. The measure would provide a 35% tax credit on the losses of the value of fruits and vegetable crops. Prescott says if it passes, the tax credit will go a long way.
The bill has both Senate and Assembly support. Tedisco says the Governor's office has also shown some interest.