Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

April 13, 2007

Commissioner Announces $30 Million for Dairy Assistance

Assistance for Financial Losses Incurred in 2006; Applications Due April 27, 2007

      New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced the availability of applications for $30 million in State assistance for dairy farmers in New York State.  Funding for the New York State Dairy Assistance Program was included in the 2007-08 State Budget to provide a direct payment to dairy farmers for milk produced during the 2006 calendar year.
      “Dairy farmers experienced one of the worst years on record in 2006,” the Commissioner said, “and continue to struggle with low prices, escalating costs and acquired debt from the past year.  We realize that time is of the essence and therefore our goal is to get this $30 million into the pockets of dairy farmers as soon and as fairly as possible.  In order to guarantee every dairy farmer receives what they are entitled to under this program, farmers should not wait a single day to complete their application.  Be sure to get your application for assistance completed accurately and in the mail by April 27.”
      “The dairy industry plays an integral role in the Upstate economy and our dairy farmers need this assistance now.  On behalf of New York’s 6,000 dairy farmers, I thank Governor Spitzer and the State Legislature for providing this extraordinary support in an effort to invest in the future of the State’s dairy industry.”
      All New York dairy farmers who produced milk in 2006 and were in operation as of April 1, 2007 are eligible to apply.  Applications will be sent to dairy producers through their cooperative or processor.  Those producers who do not belong to a cooperative can obtain an application at their county Farm Service Agency office.  Producers can also download the application off the Department’s website at or request a copy by calling the Department at 1-800-554-4501.  Applications are to be delivered to the Department or postmarked no later than April 27, 2007.
      In an effort to distribute the funds timely and fairly, the Department will establish a rate of payment per hundredweight once applications are received.  The payment rate will be calculated by dividing the available funds by the pounds of eligible milk produced in 2006.  Payments to eligible producers will be calculated by multiplying the payment rate by the total number of pounds of milk produced in 2006, up to 4.8 million pounds.  The payment rate is estimated to be in the range of $.30 to $.35 per hundredweight.
      Payments are expected to be mailed by May 9, 2007 to all eligible producers who provided complete applications and accurate production data by April 27.  Payments will be issued by the New York State Empire State Development Corporation.  Should any funds remain after all eligible producers have been paid, they will be distributed to producers in a subsequent payment.
      New York Farm Bureau President and dairy farmer from Ontario County, John W. Lincoln, said, “This funding could not be better timed.  As our dairy farm families continue to struggle with low milk prices and high production costs, this money will help many of them stay viable through extremely tough times.”
      State Assemblyman and Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, Bill Magee, said, “This funding is certainly going to help encourage our dairy farmers to continue their family operations, however by no means is this a permanent solution to the problem.  As an industry, we need to continue to seek a mechanism that will stabilize milk prices and improve the overall farm economy.”
      State Senator and Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Catherine Young, said, “Dairy farmers throughout Upstate New York are facing tremendous financial challenges right now.  We need to invest in our dairy farms.  A strong and vibrant dairy farm industry is vital to the health of our State’s economy, and I’m pleased that this $30 million will help our dairy farmers immediately.”
      In 2006, the price dairy farmers received for their milk was well below that of 25 years ago and below the costs of production.  Costs of production continue to increase with very high fuel, feed, energy, fertilizer and other operating costs.  These conditions have resulted in unprecedented losses for dairy farms.  USDA estimates that New York lost 460 commercial dairy farms in 2006.  While milk prices are currently on the rise, increased costs of production and high debt loads continue to challenge New York’s dairy industry.
      New York is the nation’s third largest dairy state with nearly 6,000 dairy farms and 640,000 dairy cows that produced nearly 12 billion pounds of milk annually.  The average dairy farm in New York State is family owned and consists of 100 cows, producing an average of 18,879 pounds of milk per cow per year.
      New York dairy farms contribute more than $1.9 billion, over half of the State’s total agricultural receipts, each year to the State’s economy.  The dairy industry has some of the highest economic multipliers of any industry in New York State.  For every new job created on a dairy farm, an additional 1.24 jobs are created in the local economy and an additional $ .83 is spent in the community for every dollar of output on a dairy farm.


2007 Press Releases