U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) walked into the Cornell Cooperative Extension-Tompkins County branch in Ithaca yesterday expecting plenty of questions about the farm bill passed last Wednesday in the Senate, by a 58-40 margin.
At one point Schumer acknowledged that most farmers in the room probably didn’t support him when he was elected to the Senate, and Washington politicians had a history of overlooking New York agriculture while crafting farm subsidies.
“When I ran for the Senate three years ago, I promised I would work to put New York agriculture back on the map,” said Schumer, recently dubbed ‘the Brooklyn farmer’ by the New York State Farm Bureau.
Schumer helped form a bipartisan coalition in 1999 to include New York State agriculture among the nation’s most prominent farming interests. The two biggest New York products, dairy and specialty (fruit and vegetable) products got virtually no attention in Washington.
“Even if we had one large farm in California that produced all the food we needed