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You vote: Can supermarket wine sales save LI farmland?

The Castello di Borghese vineyard in Cutchogue was

The Castello di Borghese vineyard in Cutchogue was begun as Hargrave Vineyard in 1973. It was later sold and renamed. (Oct. 7, 2008) Credit: Newsday, 2008 / Alan Raia

Marcia Bystryn, of Remsenburg, who is president of the New York League of Conservation Voters, wants to help save Suffolk County farms – by pushing state lawmakers to allow wine sales in grocery stores.

“These issues may seem unconnected”—but they’re not, Bystryn says in an opinion piece Wednesday on the Riverhead News-Review's website.

Vineyards would obviously benefit by increasing sales. Other farms, though could benefit if taxes on the wine sales could by partly diverted to supplement the Farmland Protection Fund to help it buy development rights to farmers, Bystryn says.

The farmland development rights payments could be used by farmers to improve agricultural practices and improve profitability, she said.

The focus is on proposed state legislation titled the Wine Industry and Liquor Store Development Act.

“We need to strengthen the safety net for Long Island’s farms before this situation gets any worse,” the op-ed piece says. “That is why Albany needs to help protect farmers and promote New York State products by allowing for the sale of wine in grocery stores."

Bystryn had a similar op-ed piece in Newsday last month.

Photo: The Castello di Borghese in Cutchogue.

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