Calls Upon Gov. Paterson To Use Stimulus to Alleviate Dairy Crisis
ALBANY – Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I-Olean) met with a crowd of local dairy farmers at the Clymer Fire House in Chautauqua County today to discuss critical issues facing area milk producers and called upon Governor Paterson to release stimulus money to off-set historically low milk prices.
“Enormous pressure has been put on our local farmers because of record low milk prices combined with escalating costs for feed, fertilizer, fuels and utilizes,” said Sen. Young. “It is recipe for disaster and farms are going to continue to out of business as a result unless the problem is addressed immediately.”
“When farmers faced a similar situation in 2006, we put into place the Dairy Assistance Program to give them $30 million in emergency state relief,” said Sen. Young. “It is high time Gov. Paterson invests $65 million of federal dollars into our farms to save the upstate economy.”
Dairy farmers in New York received an average of $11.50 per hundredweight of milk sold during June, down 40 cents from May and $7.40 below June a year ago. Sen. Young said a study done at Cornell University estimated that a price of at least $17.00 per hundredweight is needed in order to meet their production costs.
“The state didn’t help things when they passed this year’s budget that piled on huge hikes in taxes, utility charges, and health insurance premium costs,” said Sen. Young.
“We have received $25 million in federal stimulus funding and we know more is on the way,” said Sen. Young. “It is critical that we invest those dollars into our state’s top industry instead of wasting it on programs that do nothing to simulate our economy.”
“A lot of money has been put into New York City this year and upstate needs to get its fair share,” said Sen. Young. “We need more jobs, more economic opportunities on top of retaining the businesses we are fighting to keep.”
Sen. Young is urging Governor Paterson to appropriate $60 million of New York’s designated stimulus money to address the escalating dairy crisis. She also requested an additional $5 million be appropriated to farms statewide to help off-set financial losses incurred as a result of crop losses.
“Grape growers have also been hit especially hard by a damaging freeze earlier this season,” said Sen. Young.
Sen. Young said she is also fighting against pending legislation that would drive up labor costs so high that farmers will be forced to go out of business.
“This year already has been an unmitigated disaster for farmers and this devastating new measure would be the final straw for thousands of farms across this state,” said Sen. Young.
New York is the nation's third-largest dairy state, generating $2.4 billion annually, over half of the state's total agricultural receipts. New York's 6,200 dairy farmers produce 1.4 billion gallons of milk annually. The average dairy farm in New York state is family owned and consists of 100 cows, producing an average of 19,303 pounds of milk per cow per year.