Some dairy producers have resorted to dumping milk during the pandemic has demand as fallen while restaurants and schools remain closed.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced a plan meant to aid the battered dairy industry: Products will be purchased from farms and sent to food banks around the state. At the same time, dairy product companies like Chobani, Dairy Farmers of America, Upstate Niagara, Cabot Cheese and others will distribute their excess product to food banks and those in need.
“Governor Cuomo provided some much-needed good news today for the state’s farmers and our partners looking to feed fellow New Yorkers in need,” said Farm Bureau President David Fisher. “Our organization has been advocating for food purchase programs at the state and national levels to address the surging demand for food assistance as well as to help alleviate oversupply issues that are burdening our farms because of the loss of markets in the food service industry.”
Dairy producers must still milk cows, even when demand for the product is low. This has led some producers to dump their milk when it is not picked up for processing.
The agriculture industry in New York, however, still needs more help.
“More needs to be done to support all New Yorkers,” Fisher said. “No farmer wants to dispose of the food they produce, but few farms can process and package their raw commodities, like milk, into products that can be purchased or donated to those in need. We know out of state products like apples and potatoes are being purchased rather than supporting our farmers here in the state who themselves have been impacted by COVID-19. Today’s announcement will provide an additional pathway to move more nutritious, New York produced food from our farms to the dinner table, which will benefit everyone involved.”