Agriculture organizations and state lawmakers gathered virtually on May 27, 2021 to celebrate Dairy Day in the State of New York and lead into June is National Dairy Month. The virtual Dairy Day was co-sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, Northeast Dairy Foods Association, Northeast Dairy Producers Association and New York Farm Bureau.
For many years, members of the legislature, their staff, agricultural organizations and dairy processing and manufacturing companies gather in the Well of the Legislative Office Building at the State Capitol in Albany to recognize and highlight the significance and impact the dairy industry has on New York State. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s event was held via Zoom with members of legislature’s respective agriculture committees along with representatives from Northeast Dairy Foods Association, Northeast Dairy Producers Association and New York Farm Bureau.
“Dairy Day serves as an excellent opportunity for Northeast Dairy Foods Association and our industry partners to engage with state representatives on issues the dairy industry is facing,” said Daniel Lausch, President of the Board of Directors of Northeast Dairy Foods Association. “Additionally, it is a way we can showcase the impact dairy has on New York as it is one of the top economic sectors in the state. It is also provides our association and members a chance to hear directly from legislators about issues that are on the horizon that Northeast Dairy Foods Association can actively participate in and provide our resources and assistance.”
“As the state’s largest agriculture sector, our dairy industry is the cornerstone of New York’s ag economy,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Dairy is more than a product – it’s part of our state’s heritage. Dairy Day in New York is an important opportunity for us to honor the hard work, innovation, and stewardship stemming from our small, local dairies while putting the unique challenges facing our farming families front and center so that we can work with current and future generations to keep this leading industry strong in New York.”
“Dairy Day at the Capitol is our annual opportunity to recognize the important role dairy plays in the NY’s food economy,” said Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture. “In spite of ongoing restrictions, I’m glad that members of the Legislature were able to meet with dairy farmers and processors virtually. We all know that dairy is vital to our food supply chain and played an especially important role during the past year. The Nourish NY program alone moved thousands of pounds of milk, yogurt and other products to families in need across the state. Understanding the challenges facing the dairy industry, will improve our ability to assist them.”
National Dairy Month began as National Milk Month in 1937 as a way to promote drinking milk. Since then, National Dairy Month has evolved into a means to promote consumption of all dairy products, as well as recognize the contributions and efforts the dairy industry makes. Today is also a celebration of all facets of the dairy industry – from producers, processors, manufacturers and distributors, and their role of ensuring that consumers have safe, healthy and high quality dairy products.
With nearly 4,000 dairy farms in the state, New York ranks third in the country in milk production. As a result, New York records over 2 billion dollars annually in fluid milk sales, and is a national leader in cottage cheese, yogurt and sour cream production, and provides thousands of jobs across the state.