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Ball Highlights Actions Supporting New York's Dairy Industry
New York Ag Connection - 06/25/2020

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball Thursday highlighted several actions the Department has taken in support of New York State's dairy industry throughout Dairy Month, which is celebrated in June, beginning with World Milk Day on June 1. Governor Cuomo's Nourish New York initiative continues to grow and quickly move surplus milk and dairy products to consumers in need. Over 5,000,000 pounds of milk has been moved off the farm during the first several weeks of the program, representing over 1.8 million dollars spent to support dairy farmers. Additionally, Taste NY Markets and Welcome Centers across New York have featured local dairy producers in their regions throughout the month of June and continue to offer different specials on dairy products to encourage consumers to support their local dairies.

Ball said, "Supporting our dairy producers is a priority to us now more than ever as the agricultural industry adjusts to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nourish New York initiative and Taste NY Welcome Centers are both great avenues to ensure that New York State milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products are getting on the table in homes across the state. I encourage consumers statewide to support their local community and economy by enjoying some delicious, nutritious New York dairy."

Through Cuomo's Nourish New York initiative, $1.8 million dollars has been spent on over 5,000,000 million pounds of surplus milk--both fluid milk and milk used for finished products, such as yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese. This has been redirected to more than 100,000 New York households, both helping families in need and dairy farmers who have been impacted by market changes as a result of COVID-19.

Food banks that have received funding through Nourish New York have purchased milk from processors including HP Hood, Chobani, Upstate Niagara and Upstate Farms, Battenkill Valley Creamery, Bethel Creamery, and Kriemhild Dairy, among many other dairy manufacturers. The Nourish NY program has now impacted all major New York State dairy cooperatives, comprising 3,725 dairy farms across the state.

Additionally, Taste NY Markets and Welcome Centers have celebrated New York dairy all month long in support of hard-working New York State dairy producers. Stores throughout the state are spotlighting different dairy producers from their region and featuring a variety of delicious specials designed to encourage consumers to shop for local dairy in their region. New Yorkers can additionally shop online at ShopTasteNY.com for sundae toppings and other items to pair with their New York State dairy products.

Taste NY has also encouraged customers to celebrate New York dairy this month by tagging Taste NY Markets and Welcome Centers in social media posts featuring their favorite New York State milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.

Lynne Bohan, vice president of communications and government affairs of HP Hood said, "National Dairy Month is a great way to shine a light on the New York dairy industry and all it does for the local community and economy. We're proud to partner with Nourish New York as a way to support both dairy farmers and families in need."

Chris Noble, farm partner in Craigs Creamery said, "When COVID-19 hit, we as dairy farmers temporarily lost many markets for our products, including schools and restaurants. The Governor's Nourish NY initiative has helped local demand for milk and dairy recover more quickly by providing hunger relief for our local communities, specifically from New York farmers and food producers. We are hopeful that we can continue to build on these new supply chains by creating a local and more resilient food system."

Larry Webster, CEO of Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. said, "Our cooperative's farmer-owners are grateful for all efforts made on their behalf to move excess milk from local farms to families in need. Recognizing their commitment to nourish their communities and enabling them to do so go a long way toward ensuring that we all work together for the greater good."

Eli Franklin of Bethel Creamery said, "Bethel Creamery is proud to provide our local, organic, kosher milk and dairy products to families in need. The Nourish NY program has been so important in helping us to maintain our business, and in supporting the small family farms that supply our milk. We know that our surplus milk is going to good use through Nourish NY."

Jennifer Kraft, Taste NY market manager at the Adirondacks Welcome Center, said, "We are proud to offer milk, butter, ice cream, yogurt, and cheese from numerous local producers at the Adirondacks Welcome Center. Artisan cheeses from Nettle Meadow Sanctuary Farm have been a favorite in the Taste NY vending market since the Center opened in 2018. These creative cheesemakers are also participants in the Nourish New York program and have donated over $80,000 in cheese to regional food banks along I-87 from NYC to Essex County."

Shaylyn Decker, Taste NY market manager at the Capital Region Welcome Center, said, "The Capital Region Welcome Center loves our dairy farmers! For June we've brought in a new selection of cheese, yogurt, and ice cream flavors from Nettle Meadow, Chaseholm Farm, Ronnybrook, Hawthorne Valley, Four Fat Fowl, Miracle Spring, and so many more. We've also put up fun dairy facts all over the store to educate the public on the importance of New York's dairy industry. Along with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties, we've put together an educational guide for fun dairy activities for parents and children to do at home. Stop in at the Capital Region Welcome Center to check out all of our dairy products!"

New York's dairy industry is a critical sector of the state's economy and as its leading agricultural sector, dairy accounts for approximately one-half of New York's total agricultural income. New York's unique and talented dairy producers and processors provide significant contributions to New York's agriculture industry, the economy, and to the health of our communities.

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