February 2024 Policy Updates from NYWGF Executive Director, Sam Filler

Dear Friends,

The grape and wine industry faces several emergent public policy issues from labor law changes, neo-prohibitionist movements, and proposed waste management regulations that would shift more responsibility and accountability onto manufacturers. Public policy affects the quality of New York’s business climate, influencing the success and viability of your vineyard and winery operations.

NYWGF recognizes that the industry looks to us to help keep you informed about anything affecting the business climate. While we are not an advocacy organization and cannot pro-actively lobby due to being primarily funded by the State of New York, we can be a resource to keep the industry up-to-date and educated about emerging public policy issues. To fulfill this role, there will now be a public policy corner as part of the grapevine and membership newsletters where we will highlight important issues for your attention.

There are advocacy organizations like WineAmerica, Farm Bureau, and New York Wine Policy Institute that proactively work to support and oppose public policy. NYWGF encourages the industry to get involved with these groups as members if you want to contribute to the efforts to improve the business climate in New York. As John Martini, former NYWGF Board Member, constantly says, “Stand Up! Show Up!” Your active engagement with NYWGF and our advocacy partners is an important part of protecting your business and the greater industry.

Below are updates from our advocacy partners that are deserving of your attention.



Sam Filler

Executive Director, New York Wine & Grape Foundation




–New York Wine Policy Institute:


–Farm Bureau:

  • NYFB CEO Search Taking Applications through Feb 28

The New York Farm Bureau State Board will be taking applications through Feb. 28 as part of its nationwide search for a new CEO to lead the organization. The current CEO, Liz Dribusch, is retiring in May. The goal is to have a new leader in place before her departure to provide for a seamless transition.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the CEO is responsible for the overall strategic planning and operations of New York Farm Bureau. This leader will establish a vision in partnership with the Board and staff and will successfully deliver results for a multitude of programs. In addition, the CEO manages the day-to-day business of New York Farm Bureau, Inc. and its subsidiary corporations. Please share the information if you know of potential candidates and note that the deadline to apply has been extended to Feb. 28.

Click here for the full job description and application instructions.

  • NYS Farmworker OT Tax Credit Portal Now Open

Last week, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the launch of the new FarmEmployer Overtime Tax Credit advance portal. The portal is now open for you to register and begin preparing documents you will need to apply for the reimbursement. The Farm Employer Overtime Credit is a refundable tax credit available for eligible farm employers who pay overtime wages after January 1, 2024, based on the gradual phase-in of the overtime threshold in New York State.

Farmers can apply for this refundable credit if they or their business are an eligible farm and employ eligible farm employees that were paid eligible overtime. Make sure you are prepared by taking the steps outlined here and in this user guide from Agriculture and Markets.


Cornell Ag Workforce Development Updates:

Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development is providing resources to help bridge the gap between language barriers.

Click here for some of the tools to help your workforce overcome some of these common issues on farm.

In addition, CAWD is providing information on recent changes to the H2A program. You can find information on H2A Wage Rates and Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) codes.

Click here for a H2A breakdown.

Picture of New York Wine & Grape Foundation

New York Wine & Grape Foundation

The mission of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation is to promote the world-class image of New York grapes and wines from our diverse regions to responsibly benefit farmers, producers and consumers through innovative marketing, research, communication, and advocacy.