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Ag's shifting agenda in New York

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Agriculture is one of New York's biggest industries, generating more than $3 billion annually. Once a reliable mix of dairy, orchards, and row crops, farming in New York is changing fast, with new opportunities and challenges. The state is building a wholesale market in New York City to connect downstate consumers with Upstate farms. A new office of organic produce is trying to help farmers' meet the growing demand for healthy, locally-grown food. And New York is investing in biofuel research. Meanwhile, farmers have been thrust into the middle of the illegal immigration debate, fearing raids on their increasingly Hispanic workforce. A plan to ban open burning statewide would force farmers to find new ways to throw out their bale wraps and other plastics. David Sommerstein sat down recently with Agriculture Commissioner Pat Hooker to look at the farm agenda for 2008. Hooker came to state government last year after more than a decade representing the industry as the New York Farm Bureau's policy director. He says he's very excited about the promise of alternative energies and biofuels for farmers...

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Reported by

David Sommerstein
Reporter/ Producer

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