Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

November 29, 2016

State Agriculture Commissioner Reconvenes Milk Marketing Advisory Council

Advisory Council Brings Dairy Industry Leaders Together to Discuss Challenges and Opportunities in NY's Dairy Industry, Including NYS Grown & Certified

New York State Department of Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced the Department has reconvened the Milk Marketing Advisory Council (MMAC), which was created to advise the Commissioner on issues important to the dairy industry.  The council met today to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the State’s largest agricultural sector.

Commissioner Ball said, “I’m pleased to reconvene the Milk Marketing Advisory Council and bring together such a great group that represent the very best of the industry—from our farmers to our processors to our retailers.  Today’s meeting provided an opportunity for the group to delve into some of the key issues the industry is facing today, such as market conditions and trade barriers, but it also gave us the platform to inform our producers and processors about some of the new exciting marketing programs available, like the NYS Grown & Certified program, to help our dairy businesses grow.  I look forward to continuing the great dialogue started here today.”

Andrew M. Novakovic, PhD, Cornell University Professor of Agricultural Economics and Chairman of the Council, said, “The dairy industry faces daunting challenges but also terrific opportunities. We have seen the dairy industry struggle with low milk prices, an unprecedented drought this summer and continued consumer demand on the food system, but the dairy sector rises to those challenges and provides great products.  The industry members who are represented on the Commissioner’s Milk Marketing Advisory Council are eager to assist the State in providing input to improve the sound framework in which the dairy industry operates.”

The MMAC is composed of more than two-dozen members from the dairy manufacturing and processing sectors, from dairy farmer cooperative associations, in addition to milk consumers and representatives of milk retailers.  The Advisory Council’s goal is to advise the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on policy issues impacting New York’s dairy industry, and provides a forum for communication and networking between dairy community leaders.

Today, the MMAC discussed topics including the current milk market situation, increased production, and trade agreement policies, in particular with Canada.  This comes on the heels of the Governor’s letter to Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, expressing his opposition to proposed regulations that would create a barrier for New York’s dairy farmers exporting a key New York dairy product to Canada.  The Governor called on the Canadian Government to develop a national agreement that will mutually benefit trade across borders.

In addition, the Department provided in-depth information on the State’s NYS Grown & Certified food labeling program. Launched in August, the New York State Grown & Certified program assures consumers that the food they are buying is local and produced to a higher standard by requiring participating producers to adopt good agricultural practices and enroll in an environmental management program.  The program is currently being expanded to include dairy producers and processors, and will provide significant marketing benefits to New York’s milk and dairy products industry. Learn more about NYS Grown & Certified here.

The group will meet again on June 1, 2017.

New York’s dairy industry ranks fourth in the nation for total milk production with more than 14 billion pounds produced annually from 620,000 dairy cows.  New York has just over 4,800 dairy farms and generated $2.6 billion in 2015 from the sale of milk, which represents nearly half of the state’s total agricultural receipts.

New York’s dairy industry also consists of nearly 400 dairy processors and manufacturers, numerous dairy support services, such as veterinarians, feed dealers, equipment dealers and others as well as thousands of retailers that provide milk and dairy products to New Yorkers throughout the State.

2016 Press Releases