Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua), Assemblyman Cliff Crouch (R,I-Guilford), Chair of the Agriculture, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Minority Task Force and Minority Ranker on the Assembly Agriculture Committee, and their colleagues today joined state agriculture representatives and members of New York’s dairy industry at the annual Dairy Day reception in Albany. The event, which has become an Assembly Minority tradition, was held in recognition of June as “National Dairy Month.”
“It is important to recognize that New York is a highly regarded, national leader in dairy production,” said Kolb. “My conference and I host this reception each year to honor and celebrate dairy farming in our state and, in particular, the men and women whose hard work makes New York’s number one industry thrive year after year.”
Agriculture is the backbone of New York’s economy -- with an estimated 6,400 dairy farms currently in operation, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. New York also ranks third in the nation when it comes to dairy production. Total milk production in New York during 2009 was approximately 12.4 billion pounds. But milk isn’t the only dairy product being churned out –New York also provides the nation with abundant supplies of ice cream, yogurt and butter.
“As a former dairy farmer, I know the struggles and hard work involved in maintaining a successful agricultural economy,” said Crouch. “I am committed to working toward new ways to protect the future of farming, preserve our farmland and strengthen the agriculture industry. Today, we celebrate the dairy farmers and retailers who work so hard to provide us with quality dairy products.”
Jim Buelow, Vice-President of the Northeast Dairy Foods Association, said, “There are over 100 dairy product processing and manufacturing plants in New York State providing thousands of quality jobs. We salute the dairy farmers who work hard to produce the milk and retailers who market dairy products to our valued consumers all year long as we recognize June as Dairy Month.”
Others in attendance at the reception included Assemblyman William Magee, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee; Senator Darrel J. Aubertine, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee; Senator Cathy Young, Minority Ranker on the Senate Agriculture Committee; Jerry Cosgrove, NYS Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets; Stephen Coye, NYS Grange; Eric Ooms, NYS Farm Bureau; Jim Buelow, Northeast Dairy Foods Association, Inc.; Audrey Donahoe, American Dairy Association and Dairy Council; NYS Dairy Princesses; and a calf courtesy of local farmer Jason Graziano.
Vendors featured at today’s event included The American Dairy Association and Dairy Council; Cabot Creamery Cooperative; Dairylea Cooperative Inc. and Dairy Farmers of America, Northeast Council; Garelick Farms; Hillcrest Dairy; H.P. Hood; Mohawk Dairy; Northeast Dairy Foods Association, Inc.; Ronnybrook Farm Dairy; Stewart’s Shops and Upstate Niagara Cooperative.