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

September 30, 2009

Statement From Governor David A. Paterson

“The national economic downturn, combined with an extended decline in milk pricing, have presented significant challenges to dairy farmers both in New York and across the country. Today, progress was made in our efforts to provide some relief as the conferees working on the federal agriculture appropriations bill gave their final approval of an amendment to aid dairy farmers.

“Last week, I was joined by 10 Northeast governors to request that the conferees negotiating the final federal agriculture appropriations bill include such an amendment, which will provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture with an additional $350 million to assist dairy farmers and allow them to continue their operations. Today, the conferees decided that the majority of the fund, $290 million, would be utilized for a direct payment to dairy producers. The remaining $60 million will be used to purchase dairy products such as cheese off the commercial market, which would then be donated to food banks and nutrition programs to help increase the price paid to farmers for milk used in such products.

“While this funding does not address long-term reform of the dairy industry, it does provide immediate relief for New York’s dairy farmers to continue their operations. I applaud the conferees and our Congressional representatives, who worked diligently with other Northeast delegates to ensure this much-needed assistance stayed on the conference table. I also commend New York Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker for his commitment to our dairy farmers.

“I encourage Congress to pass the agriculture appropriations bill and will continue to work with our Delegation and fellow governors on long-term solutions to provide stability in the dairy industry and ensure a better quality of life for New York’s farm families.”

2009 Press Releases