Stirpe – Tis the season to support local agritourism

Al Stirpe

It’s time to dig into a slice of pumpkin pie, enjoy some cider and break out the holiday decorations. With the holiday season quickly approaching, there’s a lot going on with feasts to prepare and gifts to give. Luckily, everything you need for the holidays is right here in CNY thanks to our thriving agritourism industry.

The options to shop local are endless. Buy your cider at a local orchard. Cut down your own Christmas tree at a tree farm. Consider our local agritourism industry for your gifts as well. Giving experiences has become the latest trend – perhaps going on a wine tour or taking a cooking class will make the perfect gift for someone on your list. By buying local, your money stays here in Central New York, boosting our economy and supporting friends and neighbors.

Our agritourism industry is vital to our economy. I fought for legislation that will help our farms and other agriculture tourism ventures thrive. For instance, I helped pass a law to allow farm cideries to sell New York products, grown from local fruits, to all licensed commercial wineries and breweries (Ch. 171 of 2017). This law expands product distribution and increases the demand for New York-produced apples and other fruits.

I also co-sponsored legislation to reduce the cost of liability insurance for agritourism businesses by creating explicit and uniform standards for communicating inherent risks (Ch. 338 of 2017). This will help our local farms and businesses thrive by easing the financial burden on them. The law sets limits on liability risk for owners who take a reasonable level of care in preventing risks that can be associated with visiting farms, such as livestock, uneven ground and equipment. This will help pick-your-own-food farms, such as apple orchards or berry patches, as well as tree farms and wineries.

Further, agriculture-related businesses in Central New York deserve the opportunity to get off the ground. To help small food businesses get started and stay in business, I sponsored legislation that allows small-scale food processors to pay a lower licensing fee by creating a two-tiered licensing system. (Ch. 400 of 2017). By taking into consideration the size of the operation and the expected production, we can help more food entrepreneurs and local farms develop and sell their products while creating more jobs in our communities.

Our friends, family and neighbors in the agritourism industry work hard year-round, and the holiday season is the perfect time to support our small businesses.

If you have any questions or concerns, about this or another community issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My office can be reached at 315-452-1115 or at

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