Assemblyman Magee: Dairy Farmers Need Our Help
Across our state, dairy farmers are struggling with the high costs of doing business and the declining prices of milk. New York has the third-most dairy farms in the nation, and now, more than ever, they need our help.1 Our state has a rich history of dairy farming and itís up to us to preserve and protect that history and help ensure that dairy farmers can continue providing our communities with top-notch products for years to come.
Every day, dairy farmers face daunting challenges as milk prices plummet and overhead costs continue to climb. In 2014, milk prices reached a five-year peak of $25.70 per hundredweight. However, by 2016, dairy prices hit a low of $14.50 per hundredweight, climbing only to approximately $18 for five months between 2016 and 2017.2 These fluctuating yet consistently low prices are a troubling sign for farmers already struggling to make ends meet.
Thatís why Iím fighting to address the dairy crisis in New York in this yearís state budget. I fully support restoring funding for programs like PRO-DAIRY. PRO-DAIRY is an essential educational program that connects the stateís dairy farmers with agribusiness professionals to promote competition and sustainability in the dairy industry. As a joint venture between the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Cornell University, PRO-DAIRY has helped New York become a national leader in dairy growth for the past 10 years.3
Iím also fighting to secure funding for the New York Farm Viability Instituteís (NYFVI) Dairy Profit Team. NYFVI provides vital support to farmers through research programs and grants to help ensure farm owners are able to meet needs and fund projects that ensure long-lasting success. Since 2006, more than 1,400 farms and agricultural businesses have participated in NYFVI projects.4
As chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, Iíll do my part to ensure that dairy farmers can overcome barriers and move their business forward. If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other community issue, please donít hesitate to contact me at MageeW@nyassembly.gov or by calling 315-361-4125.