Winner to Gov. Paterson: Let's Be Ready For Dairy Crisis

George Winner

February 06, 2009

Albany, N.Y., February 6–State Senator George Winner (R-C-I, Elmira) has urged Governor David Paterson to direct his administration to pay close attention to what Winner fears is quickly developing into a devastating financial crisis within New York’s dairy industry.

Winner’s concern comes as milk prices being paid to New York’s farmers have fallen by as much as 40 percent from a year ago, according to recent statistics from the federal Department of Agriculture.  The decline has produced widespread concern that many dairy farms, especially small family farms, could be out of business by the end of the year.

In a Feb. 6th letter to Paterson, Winner wrote, “There is now widespread concern that this price collapse, in concert with record-high fuel and fertilizer costs, will begin to put New York State dairy farmers, particularly small family farms, out of business by the end of the year.  I don’t need to tell you the devastating economic ripple effect these losses would have on localities across New York, but especially throughout many rural, upstate communities already under enormous pressure.”

Winner urged the governor to be ready with a state response.  He noted that two years ago, in 2007, New York provided $30 million in emergency assistance to help many state dairy farmers survive similar financial straits. 

“As a state legislator deeply concerned about the future of the upstate region, I am writing to urge your administration’s focus on this disaster-in-waiting.  We all recognize the challenges New York faces in the 2009-2010 state fiscal year, however I strongly believe we have to be ready for an appropriate state response to the dairy crisis,” Winner wrote.

New York is the nation’s third-largest producer of milk, behind only Wisconsin and California.