|Some Greek yogurt|
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced New York state is officially America’s Yogurt Capital, surpassing California in 2012 as the top producer of yogurt in the United States.
Cuomo convened the state’s first Yogurt Summit in August 2012 to bring together dairy farmers, yogurt producers, and state officials to find new ways to support the industry’s growth in New York.
Cuomo this week delivered on a promise made at the summit, removing regulatory burdens to make it easier for dairy farms to expand their herds while ensuring that the state’s water bodies remain protected.
As a result of this action, smaller farms will be able to expand their herd sizes without having to implement costly environmental permit requirements.
By removing the regulatory burdens, New York’s dairy farmers will be able to increase milk production, which will benefit New York’s growing yogurt industry, create jobs, and grow local economies.
“The new New York State is a place where businesses can grow and thrive, and the fact that New York state is now, for the first time ever, the nation’s leader in yogurt production demonstrates that our efforts to open the state’s doors to business and grow the private sector are truly working,” Cuomo said.
“Our state government is working closer together with the private sector than ever before, rolling back bureaucratic red tape and addressing the burdens that are facing job creators," Cuomo said.
"With New York state officially being crowned Yogurt Capital of America, it is clear that our approach to growing the economy and creating an entrepreneurial government is paying off.”
New York State #1 in the Nation in Yogurt Production
New York state yogurt processors produced 692 million pounds of yogurt in 2012 compared to 587 million pounds of yogurt in California. By comparison, in 2011, California produced 627 million pounds of yogurt, compared to 554 million pounds here in New York state.
While New York has gained a reputation as a national leader in Greek yogurt production, this is the first time since data on yogurt production has been available that New York has led the nation in all yogurt production.
In the last five years, New York’s yogurt plants have nearly tripled in production, and milk production grew by more than 1 billion pounds.
A number of initiatives were put into place in the last couple of years aimed to help the industry, including providing incentives for plant expansion and lowering costs for dairy farmers, which has led to increased milk production.
New York state is also the fourth largest milk producing state in the country, producing 13.2 billion pounds of milk in 2012. States producing more milk are California, Wisconsin and Idaho.
As was promised during the Governor’s Yogurt Summit, the state lifted the current cap under the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations regulations (CAFO) from 199 dairy cows to 299 dairy cows.
Under the new, more farmer-friendly regulations, issued this week by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), dairy farms with 200 to 299 mature dairy cows are no longer subject to the CAFO regulations.
Eliminating this costly regulatory burden on relatively small farms allows farmers to reinvest their resources to expand operations allowing the state to grow its milk production for the yogurt industry. CAFO farms that discharge remain subject to the Clean Water Act.
These regulations will become effective upon publication in the State Register May 8.
According to the USDA’s 2007 Census of Agriculture, there are 872 smaller farms in New York State with between 100 and 199 cows. Under the new regulations, smaller farms can expand their herd sizes into the 200 to 299 range without having to immediately implement costly controls.
The new regulations can be found on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/87499.html.
The state also is removing duplicative requirements for medium and large dairy farms. The state's action will exempt a permitted CAFO farm from most registration or permitting requirements under the solid waste program for the land application of food processing waste, storage of food processing waste with manure or anaerobic digestion of many organic wastes.
Having the two regulations govern the same activity is a burden on dairy farms and provides no additional environmental protection.
The state's action also will exempt a permitted CAFO farm from most registration or permitting requirements under the solid waste program for the land application of food processing waste, storage of food processing waste with manure or anaerobic digestion of many organic wastes.
These regulations will become effective June 17.
Farmers also are being helped with increased funding to help them invest in additional environmental protections. In the last two budgets, Cuomo has provided $2.19 million for Cornell University’s PRO-DAIRY program through the Environmental Protection Fund and Aid to Localities Fund.
The PRO-DAIRY program experts work directly with farmers to assess farm operations holistically, bringing best business practices together with state-of-the-art environmental and energy efficiency management.
Since 2000, the number of yogurt processing plants in New York has increased from 14 to 27 today with another major plant, Muller Quaker Dairy in Batavia, expected to begin production in a few months. This follows Alpina Foods, based in Columbia, South America, opening its yogurt plant in October 2012, also in Batavia.
From 2007 to 2012, New York’s yogurt plants have nearly tripled in production, from 234 million pounds to projected production of 692 million pounds. Over the same time period, the amount of milk used to make yogurt in New York increased dramatically from 166 million pounds to approximately 1.7 billion pounds.
Most of the increase in yogurt production is due to the introduction and production of Greek style strained yogurt, which requires three times more milk than traditional yogurt.
In 2011, New York’s dairy manufacturers employed an estimated 8,070 people with total wages of $414 million, a 14 percent increase from 2005. The significant increase of yogurt production in New York has had a positive effect on businesses throughout state, not only for the yogurt industry, but for dairy farms, manufacturers and local communities across New York.
Dairy farming and processing combined presents a total impact of $8.9 billion to New York’s economy. Moreover, one on-farm job is created for every 40 to 50 cows added. For every new job created on a dairy farm, an additional 1.24 jobs are created in the local community.