ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)-- In this year's state budget Nourish NY, a farm-to-food bank program received a total of $50 million. Some New York State lawmakers are concerned about access and funding distribution for the farm-to-food bank program. 

“A program that was supposed to help farmers and help food banks and help people with food insecurity has now become the biggest detriment to it, thanks to the mismanagement by the Department of Health,” said Sen. George Borrello (R-57th Senate District).

Nourish NY contracts are administered through the New York State Department of Health. The program was created in 2020 during the federal public health emergency as a way to help farmers and boost feeding programs. 

In 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation making Nourish NY permanent. 

Sen. Borrello emphasized eligibility and access to these state dollars for some farmers and food banks continues to be a challenge. 

“Some are hanging on by a thread without that funding. You’ve got food banks that are in dire straits because they’re not getting that funding. So, it’s a real problem,” he said. 

In an email to Erie News Now, the Department of Health stated, "Nourish NY helps both farmers and families by connecting surplus farm products with New Yorkers in need. Governor Hochul signed legislation in 2021 to make this program permanent, and it has been extraordinarily effective." 

In last year's budget, more than one million gallons of milk used for dairy products were purchased along with 33.4 million pounds of food creating more than 27 million meals for households. 

This year's funding is currently still being analyzed.