Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) recently sent a letter to New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo urging him to provide New York dairy farms with regulatory relief to help milk producers expand their businesses. Hochul asked that the state raise the threshold for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) regulations from 200 cows to 300 cows, a threshold consistent with national standards. Increasing the threshold will allow dairy farmers to increase milk production, enabling them to fulfill the needs of New York's growing yogurt industry. Hochul also requested that New York expand programs to assist dairy farmers with environmental conservation and protection.
Hochul wrote, "I request your assistance in delivering much-needed regulatory relief to our state's dairy farmers, many of whom are still recovering from disastrous market conditions in 2009. Without assistance, too many New York milk producers will remain unable or unwilling to expand their businesses despite the game-changing opportunity for economic development made possible by the booming Greek yogurt industry. Our dairy farmers need a level playing field and supportive regulatory regime to fully capitalize on the Greek yogurt boom, and I look forward to working with you to ensure they have both."
The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park will soon be home to Theo Muller Gmbh and PepsiCo's $206 million yogurt manufacturing facility as well as a $20 million dollar Alpina Food yogurt plant.
Rep. Hochul has introduced bipartisan legislation that allows dairy farmers to apply for H-2A visas, which are available for seasonal agricultural producers but not the year-round dairy industry. She also is a member of the House Dairy Caucus.