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Ontario County farmers say labor bill would hurt

If the proposed Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act passes the state Legislature, the Hilton Dairy in Hopewell will be hurt bad, the farm family told two state senators.

Sens. Pam Helming, R- Canandaigua, and Robert Ortt, R- North Tonawanda, visited the Hilton Dairy on Friday, where they heard about existing struggles and projected problems stemming from what is happening in Albany. Helming and Ortt also visited Hemdale Farms, a dairy and greenhouse operation in Seneca Castle.

The labor act requires farms to pay workers overtime, among other stipulations, which is a top concern at the Hilton farm. The New York Farm Bureau opposes the legislation, as do many Republicans including Helming and Ortt. According to the Farm Bureau, an economic analysis by Farm Credit East estimates the increase would hike labor costs for farmers statewide, on average, by 17 percent or nearly $300 million.

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