HECTOR, N.Y. (WENY) -- U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer spent Monday afternoon at Sawmill Creek Vineyards in Hector pushing for programs to keep farmers safe.
He voiced concerns about a cut in funding for the Northeast Center for Occupational Safety and Health for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, otherwise known as the NEC.
Recently the NEC was stripped of its funding in the federal budget proposal.
"If some in Washington got their way, farmers would lose crucial access to critical resources to keep them safe," said Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer.
According to Schumer, farm-related fatalities are eight-hundred percent higher than many other industries.
He believes the NEC provides area farmers with important life-saving resources, like the roll bar program.
The NEC is helping farmers buy a roll bar for their older tractors. So that in the event of a rollover, they'll be safe.
Through the rebate program, farmers are relieved of up to seventy percent of the costs to buy a roll bar and install it.
Schumer says tractor turnovers are the most common cause of death on farms at a rate of ninety-six cases per year.
"NEC is important because it saves lives in a very cost effective way," said Schumer. "If when a farmer, god forbid, is killed, it costs a million dollars and one of these bars costs a couple of thousand dollars. Figure it out."
So he plans on doing whatever it takes to make sure the safety of farmers are prioritized in the next budget negotiation.
"We have a budget negotiation in December and I'm one of the negotiators, so I have a little say," said Schumer. "I don't get everything my way, but I get a good percentage."