Sen. Michael Nozzolio’s bill to designate sweet corn as the state’s official vegetable is scheduled for a vote today in the Senate. Earlier this session, the sweet corn bill edged out legislation that would have given the honor to the onion.
Sweet corn is the lead fresh-produce vegetable sold in the state, according to Nozzolio, R-Fayette, Seneca County. He has sponsored the legislation for several years, working with students from the Port Byron, Cayuga County, school district, who developed the idea, helped draft legislation and gathered petition signatures in support of it. Cayuga is the largest corn-growing county in the state, Nozzolio has said.
In the Assembly, the bill has been in the Governmental Operations Committee since April 1. It is sponsored by several Republicans, who are in the minority in the chamber.
Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Rockland County, tried to push the onion as the state vegetable, but the onion lost the popularity contest.
The corn industry brought in $54.2 million last year, and sweet corn brought in $71.1 million, according to the New York Farm Bureau.
A NY1/YNN-Marist Poll in April found that 71 percent of New Yorkers want corn as the state vegetable and just 25 percent voted for the onion.
UPDATE: The Senate passed the Nozzolio bill by a vote of 56-6. Carlucci voted yes, saying,
Senate just passed 56-6 a bill to make sweet corn the official state vegetable. Sen. David Carlucci, who had wanted the onion, voted yes. Those who voted no were Sens. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, D-Yonkers; Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan; Bill Perkins, D-Manhattan; Gustavo Rivera, D-Bronx; Jose Serrano, D-Bronx; and Toby Stavisky, D-Queens.
This was Carlucci’s comment on the floor:
“Agriculture is the leading industry in the state of New York and we should do everything possible to promote the great produce that New York produces and make sure that other states know this, and that when people come to New York and they visit restaurants and they visit the supermarket, they should ask, ‘Is this a New York-grown product?’ and purchase locally grown produce so we can support our farmers and continue that proud legacy that we have in New York.”