The New York Farm Bureau — the lobbying organization representing the state’s farmers — is in something of an awkward spot following recent news regarding Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
Yesterday, the company issued a statement making clear that their insurance policies were not “designed to provide coverage for any fracking-related risks” after a memo from a subsidiary leaked online.
Here’s where the Farm Bureau comes into play. The group is a strong supporter of hydrofracking, and has a particularly active base in the Southern Tier pushing for it in the Southern Tier, where many farmers want to (or have) leased their land for gas drilling.
In January, the state Farm Bureau announced a “strategic partnership” with none other than Nationwide, becoming the “endorsed insurance company” of the group.
““As we conclude the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Farm Bureau movement, I am excited to welcome Nationwide Insurance to the New York Farm Bureau family,” Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau, said in a statement at the time.
Farm Bureau spokesman Steve Ammerman reiterated the organization’s support for hydrofracking — currently under a de facto moratorium in New York — and said it has a “good relationship with Nationwide Insurance.”
“The company provides members-only savings to our nearly 30,000 members in every part of New York state, from the North County to the Southern Tier to Long Island,” Ammerman said. “There are great benefits for our members.”
As for hydrofracking, Ammerman said the group is “supportive … as long as strong safeguards are in place.”
“Farmers have been traditionally good stewards of the land and we’re working hard on this issue of hydraulic fracturing to make sure that continues,” he said.