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Commissioner Hooker recognizes June "Dairy Month"

ALBANY New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced that June is Dairy Month in New York State. With 6,200 dairy farms producing over 12 billion pounds of milk annually, New York is the nations third largest dairy state. June Dairy Month was originally celebrated to help stabilize the demand for milk and dairy products during the spring months of peak production, the Commissioner said. Today we simply honor our dairy farmers and the safe, wholesome products they produce. Whether large or small, conventional or organic, Holsteins or Jerseys, dairy farms contribute immensely to the quality of life we live. Dairy farmers are good people that are committed to living off the land and to producing a healthy and wholesome product. They care not only about the end product, but the animals that produce it, as well as the land they work and the workers they employ. Because their efforts on the farm impact the lives of so many off the farm, I ask you to join me this month in pouring a tall glass of cold milk and honor our hard working dairy farmers for all that they do. On June 23, the Commissioner will be hosting a dairy policy forum at the New York State Fairgrounds. This forum will be open to the public and anyone interested in expressing a concern to the Commissioner in regards to state dairy policy is encouraged to attend. Specific information on this meeting will be announced soon. Over the past year, dairy farmers, as well as consumers have experienced higher milk prices. The increase in milk price is in response to the increase in demand for U.S. milk and dairy products globally. Emerging markets in China and India, coupled with a drought in major milk producing regions of the world such as New Zealand, have greatly increased the demand for U.S. dairy products and ultimately, increasing the price of milk locally. In addition, dairy farmers across the nation have experienced significant increases in input costs, including feed, fuel, equipment and rented land. The recently passed Farm Bill will benefit greatly New York dairy farmers. The Farm Bill strengthened the existing safety net for dairy farmers by increasing the differential for the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) trigger price to 45 percent, increases the eligible pounds of milk to nearly 3 million for that program, and ties the price of feed to the MILC trigger price during difficult financial times. There are a number of June Dairy Month events scheduled around the State, all focused on New Yorks largest agricultural industry. From community festivals to farm open houses, the public will have numerous opportunities to attend a June Dairy Month celebration. Dairy is the States largest agricultural sector, contributing significantly to the States economy by generating $2.4 billion at the farmgate, over half of the States total agricultural receipts, and providing some of the highest economic multipliers in the State. According to Cornell University, for every new job created on a dairy farm, an additional 1.24 jobs are created in the community, and for every dollar of output, an additional $.83 is generated. Dairy processing provides an additional 4.72 jobs for every job created in a plant, the highest multiplier in the State, and generates an additional $1.26 to the community for every dollar of product sold. New York has over 100 dairy processing plants. Approximately 25 percent of the States milk production is used for fluid consumption. The remainder of the States milk is used for processed dairy products. Last year, New York produced 737 million pounds of cheese, 183 million pounds of cottage cheese, 16 million pounds of butter, 236 million pounds of yogurt and 54 million gallons of ice cream. New York ranks third in the nation for cheese production with mozzarella and cheddar being the most popular varieties. The State leads the nation in the production of cottage cheese, which accounts for a quarter of the national production. The average dairy farm in New York State is family owned and consists of 100 cows, producing an average of 19,303 pounds of milk per cow per year. The top three leading dairy counties in the State are Wyoming, Cayuga and St. Lawrence. JUNE DAIRY MONTH CELEBRATIONS June 6 - Jefferson County Dairy Festival and Parade, Dulles State Office, Watertown June 6 - Oneida County FarmFest, Finndale Farms, Holland Patent June 6 - Wyoming County Dairy Festival, Camp Wyomoco, Varysburg June 6-7 - Steuben County Dairy Festival, Steuben County Fairgrounds, Bath June 6-8 - Western New York Dairy/Ag Festival, Route 219 Expressway, Springville June 11 - First Grade Dairy Day, Lamb Farms, Oakfield June 14-15 - Meredith Dairy Festival, Meri-Dale Farm, Meredith June 18 - Dairy Day with the Assembly Minority, The Well of the Legislative Office Building, Albany June 21 - Chenango County Dairy Day, Chenango County Fairgrounds, Norwich June 21 - Dairy and Berry Celebration, Cobleskill Park, Cobleskill June 22 - Saratoga County Sundae on the Farm, Kings Ransom Farm, Schuylerville

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