2018-06-13 / News

Senator Seward Weighs in on Dairy Industry Crisis

By Rosie Cunningham

Senator Seward is committed to helping the dairy industry. 
File Photo Senator Seward is committed to helping the dairy industry. File Photo DELAWARE COUNTY - Senator James Seward weighed in on the importance of the dairy industry and addressed the current crisis farmers are facing locally, state-wide and on the national level.

“Farming has served as the backbone of New York’s economy for generations, and dairy farming is a key component,” said Seward. “I have worked on the state level to enact programs to assist dairy farmers and encourage our next generation of farmers to continue this time honored tradition and business. One of the biggest difficulties dairy farmers must contend with is the federal milk pricing system. I am hopeful that our representatives in Washington D.C. will better address this ongoing problem and help our farmers who are struggling to stay in business.”

Seward said on the political level, the 2018-19 New York State Budget included recording funding - $54.4 million – to support a variety of farm programs.

“I have also joined my senate colleagues to advocate for the Growing Strong plan which includes a number of initiatives to strengthen family farms and create new agriculture jobs,” he said. “The senate has already passed several bills that would help reduce operating expenses on the farm and additional bills, like one encouraging companies to buy New York-grown crops, are close to advancing. I am hopeful the state assembly will join the senate and adopt these key measures before the legislative session concludes later this month so they can be sent to the governor for his consideration.”

Dairy promotion programs are among the initiatives funded in part by the New York State budget according to the senator.

“Certainly, they are helpful in alerting the public to new dairy products and reinforcing the importance of the dairy industry and the many health benefits dairy products offer,” he said

Seward said there is no singular, one-size-fits-all remedy to ensure success for the agriculture industry in New York State and that it is important to remember that despite some struggles, agriculture remains our state’s number one industry.

“Farmers are resilient and creative. I will continue to support them and am optimistic that they will find success,” he added. “It is crucial that they can continue to look for new markets for their products and embrace industry changes that will allow them to thrive. I am currently working to pass new legislation requested by an ice cream manufacturer in Chenango County that would allow the sale of ice cream made with beer and hard cider. The sale of wine ice cream is already legal, and this variation would open up a new product line for dairy farmers, craft beer and cider producers, dairy processors, and food retailers. This is an isolated example, but it illustrates the need to explore new products and ideas. I am committed to doing all I can at the state level to lower costs, help open up new markets and opportunities for our diverse products, and support innovative marketing, education, sustainability, and research programs that will help grow our farms.”

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