Hawley’s Albany Update

June 14, 2007

Since 1939, New York state has recognized June as Dairy Month to help stabilize the demand for milk and dairy products during periods of peak production. Today, Dairy Month is an annual celebration honoring America’s dairy farmers and the safe, wholesome products they produce daily.

Milk is an important commodity for New York and particularly Western New York, where many of our farms produce dairy products that are distributed throughout the state and nation.

This week, my Assembly colleagues and I 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 a legislative tradition, was held in recognition of the importance of dairy farming to New York state.

In order to deliver the much-needed aid for dairy farmers after last year’s low milk prices, I helped to secure $30 million in this year’s state budget for the Dairy Assistance Program that provides cash payments to eligible dairy farmers equaling the difference of the target price established by the commissioner of Agriculture and Markets.

While the $30 million in aid is a good step in relieving Dairy Farmers from elevated operating costs, it falls short of the $60 million I sought. I will continue to fight for increased funding of the Dairy Assistance Program to ensure the dairy industry remains a vital source of economic growth.

In order to bring further assistance to the agriculture industry, I have proposed legislation that would provide $30 million in agricultural aid for dairy farmers and crop production with preference given to those who have sustained weather-related losses.

A productive agriculture industry is crucial to our region’s economic success, which is why I am committed to pursuing legislation that aids in its long-term viability.

Please join me in June to celebrate the hardworking dairy farmers who are so vital to the economic success of New York. The next time you are wiping away your milk mustache, remember the dairy farmers who work tirelessly to provide us with the finest dairy products anywhere in the world.