Agriculture Committee Chairs: Procurement Changes for NY Military Bases Would Harm Dairy Farmers

Letter Calls on Defense Commissary Agency to Reconsider

Albany, NY – State Senator Jen Metzger and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo are calling on the Department of Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) to reconsider a proposal that would hurt New York’s dairy farmers. In a joint letter sent this week, the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Agriculture Committees say they’re opposed to the agency’s plan to replace the current system of allowing New York military bases to engage in direct purchase of fluid milk from local farms with a warehoused fluid milk procurement system.

“The existing direct delivery opportunities with state military installations have been an important and stable source of revenue for our local dairy industry,” said Metzger. “The current system is important for the local economy, provides a fresh, healthy product for our military personnel, and is better for our environment. We believe that DeCA should actually add additional New York grown products to the ‘direct-store-delivery’ model.”

“Government at all levels should be implementing policies that support our struggling dairy farmers, especially at a time when low milk prices are already hurting the industry,” Lupardo said. “Small farmers have always been the backbone of the state’s agricultural industry and they will never be able to compete under this misguided proposal.”

As outlined in the letter, the long-standing sourcing model of “direct-store-delivery” at New York State military installations has provided valuable and stable opportunities for small and family-owned dairy farms. Additionally, the current policy ensures the freshest product for our military personnel. Given the quantity requirements, shelf-life issues, and transportation costs, the proposed “warehouse” model would make it extremely difficult for New York’s smaller local farms to compete and would essentially hand over the fluid milk business with DeCA to large national suppliers.