O'Mara praises New York's first-ever 'Yogurt Summit'

Thomas F. O'Mara

August 15, 2012

Albany, N.Y., August 15—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today praised New York’s first-ever “Yogurt Summit” and applauded the Cuomo administration for its ongoing efforts to strengthen key state industries, including agriculture, and create jobs and other economic opportunities by easing the state’s regulatory burden, encouraging public-private partnerships and other actions.

“I continue to applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership, working together with the Legislature on a bipartisan basis, to identify New York’s economic strengths and take every possible step to make them stronger,” said O’Mara.  “The yogurt industry is growing by leaps and bounds and, because of it, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to strengthen the backbone of New York’s agricultural industry, dairy, and boost farming communities across upstate New York.  Today’s summit has made it clear that we’re not about to let this opportunity pass us by.  That’s a welcome change for New York government.”

Today’s summit in Albany brought together leaders from New York’s burgeoning yogurt industry, farmers and other agricultural industry leaders and state officials to share ideas and suggestions for solidifying and strengthening the state’s position as a national leader in this growing economic sector.

O’Mara singled out for particular praise one action arising from today’s summit.  Administration officials announced that the state will increase the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) cap from 200 to 300 milking cows – a move long desired by many of the state’s smaller dairy farms. The actions will allow small dairy farms to add to their herd and at the same time be exempt from burdensome requirements that small farms face when they have more than 200 head of cattle.

“It’s a move and a direction that’s going to be embraced by many small farmers locally and statewide.  It’s a prime example of how state government can act, this time by easing a burdensome regulation, to give an important boost to a key industry,” said O’Mara.

Read the statement from New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton...

Complying with the current CAFO requirement can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and has made expansion economically unfeasible for many dairy farmers. The new regulation will help farmers save money and allow them to expand and create jobs. According to the administration, there are more than 800 dairy farms with 100-199 cows that could benefit from this reform and expand milk production for yogurt manufacturers. The Farm Bureau estimates that if just 10 percent of those farms add 100 cows to their herd, milk production would grow by more than 160 million pounds of milk per year. The CAFO threshold increase can be made while still ensuring environmental protections.