July 15, 2009

As First NY Senator To Serve on Ag Committee In 40 Years, Gillibrand To Give New York a Voice on Nutrition, Agriculture

New York City -Largest Customer of School Lunches in the Nation - Will Finally Have Seat At The Table

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a mother of two young children, is the first Senator from New York to sit on the Agriculture and Nutrition Committee in nearly 40 years. Today, Senator Gillibrand was selected as Chair of the Subcommittee on Domestic and Foreign Marketing, Inspection, and Plant & Animal Health. In addition, she will serve on the Nutrition, Food Security, Futures and Derivatives and General Legislation Subcommittee and the Energy, Science and Technology Subcommittee.

"As a mother of two young children, I am focused on improving the health and well-being of our children," said Senator Gillibrand.  "As a member of the Agriculture Committee, I will focus on updating our nutritional standards and addressing child obesity. It is imperative that we take aggressive action to improve the food we serve to our families.

"In addition, I will continue to be a voice for our local farmers in Washington, D.C. New York's farmers are a critical part of our economy and we must ensure their success. Initiatives to buy local is important to our food security. Strengthening our agricultural sector and promoting healthier nutritional standards are critical parts of our long-term health and economic growth," Senator Gillibrand said.

As Chair of the Subcommittee on Domestic and Foreign Marketing, Inspection, and Plant & Animal Health, Senator Gillibrand plans to hold hearings on food safety modernization, marketing healthy food to children and dairy pricing.

The jurisdiction of the subcommittee includes agricultural trade; market development and product promotion; regulation of agricultural markets and animal welfare; inspection and certification of plants, animals and products; plant and animal diseases and health protection.

New York City is the largest customer of school lunches in the nation, but has not had a voice on the agriculture in nearly 40 years.  Since that time child obesity has skyrocketed - increasing by 150 percent among 2 to 5 year olds; 400 percent among children 6 to 11 years old; and more than 300 percent among young adults age 12 to 19.

As a member of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Food Security, Futures and Derivatives, and General Legislation, Senator Gillibrand will work on nutrition and food assistance and hunger prevention; organic agriculture; futures, options and derivatives; pesticides; and general legislation.

From generating electricity in Niagara Falls over a century ago to upstate farmers who are growing non-food-based feedstocks for biofuel development today, New York State has a long, rich history of environmental conservation and development of alternative sources of energy.  Senator Gillibrand is a leading advocate for investments in renewable energy production and energy efficient technology. She believes strongly that by investing in renewable sources of energy right here at home, we can create American jobs, protect the environment, and make the U.S. safer for generations to come.

As a member of the Subcommittee on Energy, Science and Technology, Senator Gillibrand will focus on renewable energy production and energy efficiency improvement on farms and in rural communities; food and agricultural research, education, economics and extension; and innovation in the use of agricultural commodities and materials.