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Gillibrand supports revisions to SNAP in new Farm Bill...

There is a fundamental connection between farmers and consumers.  That's why U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says she'll fight to keep changes to the Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program in the federal Farm Bill.  Gillibrand made her comments Friday morning at the Jamestown Farmer's Market.  The Hudson Valley Democrat was here to show her support for local Farmer's Markets... and, the contribution they make to local communities.  Gillibrand says she supports the Senate measure because it's morally right.  She says it's "essential" that hungry children, veteran's and seniors, have the food they need... and, they will be the one's negatively impacted by proposed cuts to food stamps.  Gillibrand says it's important for our families to be eating well.  She also pointed out that 16 cents out of every dollar spent on the SNAP program goes directly back to U-S farmers.  Gillibrand says all the money -- "we put in to make sure our families have the foods they need..." goes right back to farmers."  She says the agriculture and food service industries have a $38-billion impact on New York state's economy... and, account for 196,000 jobs.  She believes the House and Senate can work out their differences.

Reed votes in favor of five-year Farm Bill approved by House late Thursday...

Chautauqua County's Congressman was among the Republicans in the U.S. House who voted for the new, five-year Congressional Farm Bill.  Corning's Tom Reed says the major difference between the House GOP Plan and the Senate version is there is no change to the current Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program -- or SNAP funding -- in the Congressional Plan.  Reed... who was in Dunkirk today... says "for the second time in less than a month, Democrats choose politics over farmers."  Reed says "farmers are counting on the House to get a Farm Bill passed.  Today's bill is the way forward so that we can go to conference with the Senate and get a long-term Farm Bill signed into law."  Democrats voted against last month's Farm Bill due to their opposition to reforms to SNAP programs.  Reed stresses this bill has no impact on SNAP programs, keeping full funding in place.

Gillibrand supports Farmer's Markets during stop in Jamestown...

While in Jamestown... Senator Gillibrand also spoke of four provisions in the Senate Farm bill that will benefit not only Farmer's Markets... but, the farmers that bring the produce and other goods to those markets.  Gillibrand says two of those provisions she authored focuses on specialty crops.  One is making credit more readily available to farmers going into that line of business... and, the other... making insurance available that covers 100-percent of their crop in case of a disaster.  Gillibrand says it's largely, because "in the past" when they wrote crop insurance policies... it was only for commodity farmers.  With that... it only worked if you planted in the same cycles as commodity farmers.  Gillibrand says another measure expands local markets in "high-need" communities... such as Jamestown.  Even with supermarkets and smaller convenience stores... the Senator says the city has two U.S. Department of Agriculture tracts that are designated as "food deserts..." meaning there isn't access to afforable fruits and vegetables.  Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Economic Board Director Richard Zink says the Jamestown market is one of 16 farmer's markets in the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus-Allegheny region that are supplied by small farms that need to provide for up to 500-people a week in the face of many challenges.

Another "Big Pull" planned for Water Chestnut invasive weed in Big Pond at Jamestown Audubon Center Saturday, and Sunday...

A volunteer effort to pull dozens of the invasive Water Chestnut plant from the Big Pond at the Jamestown Audubon Society has been a big success.  However... the effort has reached a "critical time period."  That from Chautauqua Watershed Coordinator Jeff Diers and Audubon officials... who say the remaining plants have begun flowering.  That means they will begin producing the pods that have the seeds that allow the plants to spread and continue growing.  Another "Big Pull" is planned for tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to Noon... and, another is set for Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.  for more information on how you can help out... call the Jamestown Audubon at 569-2345. 

Kathmans to head up United Way of So. Chautauqua County's 2013 General Campaign...

A husband and wife team that's well-known in the Jamestown community will head-up this year's General Campaign for the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.  The human service agency has announced that Deke and Deborah Kathman will co-chair the effort to raise $1.315-million.  Deborah Kathman... who is retiring as the executive director of the Chautauqua Strider's program... says both she and her husband may be retiring shortly... but, they want to remain involved with -- and give back -- to the community.  She says that every year she's been with the Striders organization, the United Way has supported them.  Deke Kathman is the outgoing Superintendent of the Jamestown City School District.  Deborah Kathman says he -- too -- has seen first hand the need in the community.  She says many of the students in the Jamestown School District -- and others in the area -- have benefitted by programs backed by the United Way.  Deborah Kathman says this year's goal is up slightly from the 2012 campaign.  The campaign officially begins in September... but, will launch with the Pacesetter Campaign later this month.  The United Way funds 39 local programs at 18 partner agencies.  It also uses funding for the hand-full of programs it runs... including the 2-1-1 Referral Service.


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