Since coming to Congress, John Sweeney has been an outspoken advocate for small, dairy farmers, such as those in NY-20. John Sweeney fought to include New York State in the now-defunct Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact. The compact allows farmers in the 6 New England States to receive a higher minimum price for milk than the current federal minimum farm price in the region to enable small family farms to generate more income. The compact expired in 2001, before NYS was given the chance to enter. In the 2002 Farm Bill, a new program emerged called the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC). This program provides direct payments to dairy farmers when the price of milk drops below a certain level. Small dairy operations, like those in Upstate NY, rely heavily on MILC to help them compete with larger operations in the West. Originally, this program expired in 2005, but Sweeney fought to extend it through 2007, which coincides with most other agriculture programs.
Sweeney is the leader in the effort to stop the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Over 90,000 horses were slaughtered in the US in 2005, a 50% percent increase since 2002. Horsemeat is not consumed in the United States. Primarily, it is shipped to Europe and Asia for consumption as a delicacy. The horse plays a pivotal role in the history and culture of the United States and is seen as a companion animal and that is why Congressman John Sweeney has been fighting for years to stop the cruel practice of slaughter. He has been recognized by many national organizations such as the Humane Society and Doris Day Animal League for his leadership on this issue.
Mad Cow Disease
Since the discovery of Mad Cow Disease in Washington State in December 2003, Congress has spent $240 million to fight Mad Cow Disease. Among programs enacted by USDA to combat Mad Cow Disease are research, and testing of animals. USDA is also implementing a national animal ID program, which can track animals’ travels. Sweeney played a critical role on the Appropriations Committee to secure these funds.
Sweeney is a frequent recipient of the United States Apple Association’s “Golden Apple Award” for his support for the nation’s apple growers. This honor comes for Sweeney’s support of key issues of economic importance to US apple growers. In 2002, Rep. Sweeney secured $2.1 million through the USDA for New York State to bolster food and agricultural homeland security preparedness. The funding will be used for animal disease surveillance and response, plant pest and disease detection and a rapid detection and diagnostics network. Sweeney is a frequent recipient of the New York Farm Bureau’s “Friend of Farm Bureau” based on his voting record on issues deemed important by farmers nationwide. Recognizing the importance of New York State’s wine industry, in 2005, Rep. Sweeney pushed Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno requesting the swiftly pass legislation permitting intrastate and interstate direct-to-consumer wine shipments in New York State.
Press Release – Humane Society Legislative Fund Endorses U.S. Rep. John Sweeney in New York’s 20th District Congressional Race 10.11.2006
Recent Vote – H.R. 503 Passes the House – Congressman Sweeney Victorious in Defending America’s Horses 9.7.2006
Article – Congressman Sweeney Campaigns at Dutchess, Schaghticoke & Columbia County Fairs 9.6.2006
Speeches and Floor Statements – Congressman Sweeney continues his fight to protect horses from slaughter 7.27.2006
Article – Congressman Sweeney Visits the Saratoga County Fair 7.24.2006