Dear Governor Cuomo,
Labor Commissioner Rivera,
NYS Assembly and Senate Agriculture Committees,
Senators Bonacic, Carlucci, Klein and Skelos and
Assembly Speaker Silver,
We, the undersigned farmers and members of the NYS agricultural community, respectfully request that the State of New York reinstate the NYS Department of Labor Rural Employment Services Program, and all of the NYS-DOL Rural Representatives employed in said program.
Agriculture is vital to the economy of our state, in many communities it is our largest industry. The support services that were previously provided by the Rural Reps were vital to the success of agriculture and farms across New York. Most notably, the original program provided experience and expertise with regard to matching farm-workers with farmers, maintaining good relations, and ensuring that all laws and regulations were being followed.
We maintain that the current NYS DOL Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs / Agriculture Labor Program, which was formed in April 2012 to replace the Rural Employment Services Program, has proven ineffective and adversarial in providing needed services and assistance to both farmers and farm workers. New York farmers and farm workers need the old Rural Employment Services program back so that we can successfully maintain and grow our farm businesses and continue the important work of feeding New York and growing the New York State economy.