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March 25, 2016 - 3:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, dairy, business, O-AT-KA, news.

(Photos by Jim Burns.)

A Canadian proposal to reduce the amount of milk products imported from the United States, and to impose a tariff, could have perilous financial consequences for Western New York dairy farmers and cooperatives such as O-AT-KA in Batavia, which exports 20 percent of its goods to Canada annually.

At a press conference this morning in the plant's cafeteria off Cedar Street, Sen. Charles Schumer vowed to bring all his clout -- built over 18 years in the Senate -- to bear to stop the limitations being put forth by the nation's trade ministry in conjuction with its agriculture department under new government leadership.

Last year, U.S. dairies produced 200 billion pounds of milk; 85 percent of that was consumed by Americans and 15 percent was exported, said O-AT-KA CEO Bill Schreiber.

"Canada's trying to put in a new rule that would be devastating to O-AT-KA and Western New York," Schumer told the media, union employees, dairy farmers and local officials in attendance. "That ultra-filtered milk came in duty-free. Now they're trying to change that. ...  and the Province of Ontario wants to keep out (U.S.) dairy sales."

For O-AT-KA, the restrictions would amount to a loss of 180 million pounds of annual milk production -- which is 20 percent of $95 million in yearly sales, or $19 million, according to Schreiber. 

WIth more than 350 employees, the facility is one of the largest employers in the Genesee County. Upstate Niagara Cooperative, made up of nearly 400 dairies, is the majority owner of O-AT-KA.

WNY dairies are poised for growth, despite recent declines in milk pricing -- from $25 per hundredweight (the name of the commodity pricing unit) to $15 currently.

In 2012, O-AT-KA invested $16 million to build a new two-story addition to allow "ultra-filtration" capabilities in order to expand its product line and boost sales to other producers in the United States and abroad, especially Canada. Products include non-fat dry milk powder, buttermilk powder, whey powder, canned evaporated milk, butter, fluid condensed milk, iced coffee, nutritional beverages and other drinks. Ultra-filtered milk is used in cheese making.

Schumer said the recently proposed Canadian trade barriers could hinder plans for growth.

"We have good neighbors in Canada, but every so often something happens," the senator said. "This proposal would bring our mutual agreement to a screeching halt. It would put O-AT-KA and New York's dairy farmers in grave jeopardy. It would imperil the whole Upstate economy."

When asked "Is there really anything you can do?" if another nation, like Canada, implements a trade rule you don't like, Schumer replied: "Yes, a big leverage is tariffs. It's not a one-way street. It's not just exporting to Canada; we import from Canada, too."

It boils down to the fact that "we just have a stronger dairy industry and they're trying to build their's."

The rules, if implemented, would take effect in about six months.

"I'm here to go to bat for you," Schumer said. "I'm going to send a shot across the bough."

Schumer is calling on the U.S. Trade Representives and the USDA to work to protect U.S. dairy exports by ensuring that Canada doesn’t impose restrictive trade rules and honors its commitment to open borders to Upstate New York farmers.

The proposal to limit U.S. dairy imports comes on the heels of the "Trans-Pacific Partnership," referred to commonly as TPP, being signed in New Zealand last month after seven years of negotiations. Besides New Zealand, it is made up of Canada and 10 other Pacific Rim countries, including the United States, Australia, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Chile, Mexico and Peru. Ratification is anticipated over the next two years.

According to the Toronto Sun (Feb. 4. 2016), the pact could impact many industries in Canada, including agriculture, and some opponents fear it could hurt the economy and result in layoffs in some sectors. As part of the deal, Canadian dairy farms are slated to get $4.3 billion in subsidies from their government over a span of 15 years to offset losses from an increase in dairy imports from TPP trading partners.

Schumer made it clear that he opposes big trade agreements like TPP, just as he opposed and voted against NAFTA during the Clinton Administration.

Here's a copy of Schumer’s letter to both the USTR and USDA:

Dear Ambassador Froman and Secretary Vilsack:

I write to you with strong concerns about reports that Canada is weighing policy and regulatory shifts that would undermine one of New York’s most important export markets. Just a few years ago, two dairy companies made investments worth tens of millions of dollars in Upstate New York to produce ultra-filtered milk specifically for export to the Canadian cheese market. These sales are possible as a result of the duty-free access for this specific product that Canada agreed to under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Recent reports indicate that Canada is considering administrative actions to limit Canadian companies’ capacity to use this product in further processing and that Ontario is advancing a new, targeted pricing policy designed to crowd out New York’s dairy sales. Further restraints on dairy trade are unacceptable, particularly coming on the heels of Canada’s recent pledge to expand access to its tightly restricted dairy market under TPP. 

New York has made sizable investments in exporting into Canada under specific rules laid out by the Canadian government. Those sales now help support dairy farmers and rural communities across the state. New Canadian barriers to market access would have an outsized impact on New York’s dairy sector. As the country’s third largest milk producing state, a significant impact on New York’s ability to tap into key foreign markets also will impact farmers in surrounding states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. Moreover, this latest example of dairy market-access restrictions appears to represent a continuation of persistent Canadian regulatory and policy shifts aimed directly at impeding dairy trade. 

We must hold Canada to its commitments and ensure that our exporters do not encounter barriers to the products they are already shipping to Canada. I urge you to strongly reject this and similar efforts to impair the value of concessions the U.S. previously secured under NAFTA. Thank you for your attention to this important priority with one of this country’s largest trading partners.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

February 3, 2016 - 4:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in Cornell Cooperative Extension, agriculture, dairy, Cheese.

Press release:

Cornell Cooperative Extension Genesee County will present a Cheese Tasting and Evaluation workshop at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9. The workshop will take place at the Extension Building, located at 420 E. Main St., Batavia.

The cost to attend the class is $15 per person and class size is limited! Please register by March 2.

If you love cheese, then you won’t want to miss this class! Learn all about the cheese-making process while sampling mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, goat and feta cheeses, which are all made in New York State!

The class will be presented by Carl Moody, dairy processing specialist with Harvest New York. Carl is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and holds a bachelor’s degree in Food Science. Following graduation, he worked at the Friendship Dairy in Friendship and most recently held a position as a quality assurance manager for 13 years with Lactalis American Group, Inc. (Sorrento Cheese) in Buffalo.

For more information about Harvest New York, visit http://harvestny.cce.cornell.edu/.

To register and for payment information, please contact Samantha at 585-343-3040, ext. 123 or [email protected].

For more information about CCE Genesee County, visit our Web site at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/.

December 1, 2015 - 7:55am
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, business, beef production, dairy.

Press release:

If you are thinking about adding a new profitable enterprise to your dairy or beef operation, dairy beef production could be a natural fit. If you would like to learn more about raising dairy beef, Cornell Cooperative Extension and JBS meat packers will be hosting this meeting at the Cooperative Extension Education Center in Albion to discuss the production and marketing of dairy beef.

Cornell University Beef Cattle Specialist, Dr. Mike Baker will discuss the beef cattle cycle, and rations that can be used when raising dairy beef. Livestock Specialist, Capital Area Agriculture and Horticulture Program, Tom Gallagher, will discuss vaccination programs for dairy steers and dairy beef quality assurance. Vice President for Cattle Procurement at JBS, Larry Rose, from Greely, Colo., will give an overview of JBS, including a feedlot leased by JBS in Nicholville, marketing dairy beef and risk management in regard to raising beef.

Please register for one of these programs below by Dec. 2 to give us an accurate lunch count. There will be no charge to attend these educational events but your timely registration guarantees a lunch.

Dec. 7, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Office Orleans County

12690 NY-31, Albion, NY 14411

Contact Cathy Wallace to register at 585-343-3040, ext. 138 or e-mail[email protected]

 

Dec. 8, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Tally Ho Restaurant

14 Main St., Richfield Springs, NY 14411

Contact Cathy Wallace to register at 585-343-3040, ext. 138 or e-mail[email protected].

June 26, 2015 - 4:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Cornell Cooperative Extension, dairy, agriculture, Stafford.

pasturewalkjune262015.jpg

Area dairy farmers were invited to a pasture walk today at the farm of John and Sue Mikel, on East Bethany Le Roy Road, Stafford, by the Cornell Cooperative Extension. John and Sue own and operate Mikelholm Holsteins, a small grazing dairy they started on a 30-acre field they purchased seven years ago. They built a house and barn with a milking parlor.

They graze their 35 cows plus youngstock on the remaining land and supplement their diet with purchased feed. They also knew grazing would provide health benefits to the cows and reduce demands on labor. An added benefit was the reduced bedding costs while the cows are out to pasture.

The discussion included how John and Sue got started, fence and laneway layout, nutrition balance and summer rations as well has how to control parasites. 

pasturewalkjune262015-2.jpg

pasturewalkjune262015-3.jpg

pasturewalkjune262015-4.jpg

June 5, 2015 - 3:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, elba, Le Roy, agriculture, dairy.

Press release:

Thatcher Mowry, of Le Roy, and Kayla Wormuth, of Elba, are among the 29 New York Junior DAIRY LEADERs, representing 17 counties, that will graduate at Empire Farm Days on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. in the Dairy Profit Seminar Center at Empire Farm Days, the Northeast’s largest outdoor farm show at Rodman Lott & Son Farms in Seneca Falls.

Junior DAIRY LEADER Program coordinator Deborah Grusenmeyer and assistant coordinator Betsey Howland, both with the Cornell PRO-DAIRY Program, will welcome families and visitors to the graduation that includes a presentation of the program year by the 29 graduating members, and recognition of the 2015 Junior DAIRY LEADER class sponsors.

The Cornell PRO-DAIRY Junior DAIRY LEADER is a statewide program for youth between the ages of 16 and 19 with an interest in learning more about career opportunities in the dairy industry and gaining hands-on experience in the field.

The Junior DAIRY LEADER graduation ceremony at Empire Farm Days gives young people the opportunity to highlight their year-long experiences and demonstrate to visitors, family, friends, agribusiness professionals, and educators the dynamic aspect of dairy education and career options.

The Junior DAIRY LEADER Program begins in September with a seven day trip to Madison, Wis., to tour dairies and agribusinesses, followed by attending the annual National 4-H Dairy Conference. Throughout the year, class members participate in eight workshops, focusing on team building, personality styles, resume development, change, and leadership skills development, as well as facets of dairy production, tours, and exposure to numerous career options in the dairy field.

Hands-on workshops offer learning opportunities on specific facets of the dairy industry, including veterinary science, dairy nutrition, production management, and on-farm production analysis, plus interaction with dairy producers, industry professionals, and other dairy-interested young people. Building communication and leadership skills enhanced by a team approach to problem solving adds to the Junior DAIRY LEADERS’ personal and professional development.

The 2015 sponsors of the Junior DAIRY LEADERS program are PRO-DAIRY, the Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation, Professional Dairy Producers Association, DEHM Associates, SHUR-GAIN USA, Genex-CRI, Select Sire Power, Northeast Farm Credit AgEnhancement Program, Cargill Animal Nutrition, Northeast Ag and Feed Alliance, New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association, and the Cornell University Department of Animal Science, and New York’s dairy producers.

The 2015 Junior DAIRY LEADER class members are:
. Chautauqua County: Justin Dye, Trenton Meeder
. Columbia County: Benjamin Gardner, Courtney Dearnley, Emily Ooms
. Delaware County: Dylan Walley
. Erie County: Natalie Strub, Zane Hubbard
. Genesee County: Thatcher Mowry, Kayla Wormuth
. Jefferson County: Krystle Burger, Joshua Chisholm
. Lewis County: Harley Hancock
. Montgomery County: Justin Ryan
. Oneida County: Stephanie Finn, Andrew Smith
. Ontario County: Jacob Maslyn, Thomas Mueller, Alfredo Resendiz-Rojo,
  Robin Smithling
. Otsego County: Rachel Stone
. Rensselaer County: Lindsey McMahon
. Schoharie County: Eric Bates
. Tompkins County: Brian Lampman
. Washington County: Margaret Brownell, Kaylah Gulley
. Wayne County: Jessica Skellie
. Wyoming County: Emily Lampson, Katie Sondericker.
 
Empire Farm Days is the Northeast’s largest outdoor farm show, held on 300 acres at the Rodman Lott & Son Farms in Seneca Falls. Admission is free; parking is $10 car. Find a full schedule of activities and more information for the Aug. 11-13 show at www.empirefarmdays.com

May 26, 2015 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, Announcements, dairy.

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s NWNY Team is planning a pasture walk at the farm of John and Sue Mikel Friday, June 26 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 6321 East Bethany-Le Roy Road, Stafford. John and Sue own and operate Mikelholm Holsteins, a small grazing dairy they started on a 30-acre field they purchased seven years ago. They built a house and barn with a parlor. They graze their 35 cows plus youngstock on the remaining land and supplement with purchased feed. They also knew grazing would provide health benefits to the cows and reduce demands on labor. An added benefit was the reduced bedding costs while the cows are out on pasture.

Discussion will include how John and Sue got started, and fence and laneway layout. Come and hear how their nutritionist balances the summer ration, and how to control parasites on pasture, plus more. There will be ample time for open discussion during the walk.

Lunch will be provided and is sponsored by Select Sires and milk will be donated by Upstate Farms.

Registration is required by June 19 to get an accurate count for lunch. The cost of the pasture walk is $10 per person or $20 per farm/family.
 
To register contact Cathy Wallace at 585.343.3040, ext. 138 or [email protected].
For questions contact Nancy Glazier at 585.315.7746 or [email protected].
 
A check made out to CCE may be mailed to CCE, Attn: Cathy Wallace, 420 E. Main St., Batavia, NY  14020.

August 19, 2014 - 4:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, dairy.

Press release:

The New York Farm Viability Initiative strongly encourages dairy farmers to apply now for $2,500 grants to form dairy profit teams for their farm.

Ron Robbins, owner of North Harbor Dairy in Sackets Harbor and a NYFVI board member said “Right now, with milk prices so good, is the time to think about improvements. You want to maximize your yields, while continuing to manage your costs. The right team of experts, all chosen by you, can help you see where the opportunities are. Lining up your money now, while it’s available, is a smart move.”

Robbins went on to say “I understand that taking that first step can be challenging. It’s hard to step back from the daily priorities and share with others the big picture of your operations.”

Profit teams are a well-proven concept in New York. The state’s farmers have been using this approach, sometimes called advisory teams, successfully for the last 10 years.

NYFVI is honored to have been entrusted with a legislative appropriation through the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to help dairy farmers who haven’t used profit teams get started.

NYFVI Managing Director David Grusenmeyer added “I hope more farms will enroll and utilize the funds available to them. Over the years I’ve seen such great results from this approach. In many cases the work from these teams has literally saved a business.

"The funds are directed solely by the farmer; some teams are improving herd health, others are focused on milk quantity. Some are even working with financial advisors to develop succession plans. It’s all up to the farmer to decide.”

The simple one-page application for a Dairy Profit Team grant can be found at www.nyfvi.org

June 6, 2014 - 3:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, dairy, UMMC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Dairy Princess honored the first baby born in Genesee County during the month of June 2014 as the Dairy Baby. Harper Grey Alexander, a baby girl, was born to Ashley and Ryan Alexander of Batavia on Tuesday, June 3, at 10:56 p.m. at United Memorial Medical Center. She weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 20-inches long. She was delivered by Patricia Beverly, CNM. Harper is the first child for the new parents and her grandparents are Russell and Deette Alexander and Steve and Pam Foster.

June is National Dairy Month. It is an annual tradition celebrating the contributions of the dairy industry and promoting nutrient-rich dairy foods.

The Genesee County Dairy Princess, Elba High School junior Kayla Wormuth, and the 4H Dairy Program organizer Tess Zuber, presented the first baby born in June with a basket of dairy products including flavored milks, product coupons, cheeses from Yancey’s Fancy, and a number of other infant items.

 

June 1, 2014 - 1:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, elba, dairy.

Genesee County Dairy Maid for 2014 is 9-year-old Georgia Luft, of Elba. She wrote this article to kick off National Dairy Month.

June is National Dairy Month. What greater time to make sure your have at least three dairy products in your daily diet than now! Research recommends that everyone should consume three dairy products daily to be healthy.

Dairy products have many health benefits, especially for your bones and teeth. Dairy foods provide vital nutrients that include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, magnesium, zinc, riboflavin and protein. Dairy products provide a powerhouse of nutrients!

Eating dairy products may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in older adults, while helping children and adolescence build bone mass. Dairy products have also been associated with reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and lowering blood pressure in adults. Recently research has suggested that by enjoying three servings of dairy products a day, part of a nutrient-rich and balanced diet, dairy products may help in maintaining a healthy weight. Keep in mind that choosing low-fat or fat-free forms of dairy products provide little or no solid fat while providing many other health benefits.

Keep the “3-A-Day” theme in mind as you plan your daily meals. Experts recommend three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy food every day. Many of us could use to add one additional daily serving of nutrient-rich dairy products to help meet recommendations. One dairy serving is equal to: An 8-ounce glass of milk, a 6- or 8-ounce container of yogurt, or 1½ ounces of cheese.

It’s easy to get your 3-A-Day in when you start with some yogurt for breakfast with fruit, some cheese with lunch and a big glass of milk with dinner. Enjoy a cool glass of milk during the summer months, as it does the body good!

November 29, 2011 - 9:42pm

With the planned yogurt plants for Alpina and PepsiCo in Batavia, there's nothing but opportunity ahead for regional dairy farmers, according to Kim Pickard-Dudley, general manager of the membership division of Upstate Niagara Cooperative.

More yogurt means more milk and farmers are ready to meet the demand, Pickard-Dudley said.

"We're obviously excited for this opportunity for farmers," Pickard-Dudley said.

Upstate built its own yogurt plant in West Seneca in 2006 and a year ago purchased a 100-year-old plant in Watertown.

Alpina and PepsiCo have both broken ground on sites in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, though PepsiCo has yet to reach a purchase agreement with the GCEDC (negotiations are, we hear, currently going on at the Albany level) for the 81-acre parcel. 

Regional farmers will be able to adjust capacity to meet all the demand for milk to make yogurt, Pickard-Dudley said.

Whether that milk comes through Upstate or yogurt manufacturers go directly to farmers is unknown at this time, Pickard-Dudley.

"Farmers are always up for a challenge for meeting new demands on supply," Pickard-Dudley said.

Pickard-Dudley was in Batavia at the O-AT-KA offices on Monday to meet with Rep. Kathy Hochul, who discussed with Upstate representatives her bill to create a guest worker program to assist New York's agricultural industry.

November 23, 2011 - 2:32pm

Project Wave -- which we now know is being pursued by PepsiCo -- will be the largest yogurt plant in North America, according to an industry expert with more than 15 years in the field.

Jeff Stephen, a consultant with Productive Partners, said in an interview today that what Pepsi is planning is impressive and will be a huge benefit to the community and the local dairy industry.

"Pepsi isn't the kind of company that is going to go anywhere," Stephen said. "They're not going to cut back because of any shortage of money. This is everything you could ask for in a local community. They are going to be successful. Not everything will go to plan, but they will succeed. This is a major global commitment."

Based on industry reports, Pepsi wants to get into the yogurt business. The multinational firm is planning a merger of sorts with Theo Muller Group, a German company that makes seven different yogurt products.

Stephen said companies for years have been trying to crack the U.S. yogurt market in the belief that American consumers don't buy as much yogurt as they should. Europeans consume five or six times as much yogurt as Americans, Stephen said.

The key to the U.S. yogurt market, Stephen said, is to make yogurt with more body and texture, a yogurt that can be consumed as a meal or a key ingredient in a meal. Growth in the U.S. yogurt market has been thwarted, Stephen said, because too much of the product available in the U.S. is what Stephen called "crappy dessert yogurt."

The key to the U.S. market is Greek yogurt, which has more flavor, is more filling and has greater nutritional value.

That's the kind of yogurt that will be the basis of Alpina's product line. Alpina was the first big signing for Genesee County Economic Development Center in the new ag park. Alpina is building an initially 10,000-square-foot facility that will employ 50 people.

Pepsi's plans begin with a 300,000-square-foot facility that will employ 180 people, with a build out by 2033 of 16 production lines and 600 employees.

There is no yogurt plant in North America that's close to that size, Stephen said.

When Stephen saw what was being planned for Project Wave, as first reported on The Batavian, he figured Pepsi, whose plans with Theo Muller had already been reported by the Wall Street Journal, was a likely prospect for the property. A project of that size would almost certainly be a plant for a large corporation moving into a new product line. 

The deal bringing Pepsi to Batavia hasn't been signed yet, but construction has begun on the facility and Pepsi is clearly eager to get its new product to market by 2013.

Stephen just hopes Pepsi is planning a yogurt line based on Greek yogurt and not "crappy dessert yogurt," which he doesn't think will help Pepsi or other yogurt makers expand the U.S. market.

Whatever Pepsi does, he doesn't see the Pepsi products competing directly with Alpina, which will be producing a slightly higher end yogurt and going after niche markets.

Pepsi's main competitors will be Dannon and Yoplait.

Dannon, based in White Planes, is a pure dairy company and between its two main brands, controls about 38 percent of the yogurt market. Yoplait, owned by General Mills, has another 6 percent. The rest of the market is shared by regional players and store brands, some of which, Stephen said, are very good.

Another potential local player in the yogurt market is O-AT-KA Milk Products, which is owned by Upstate Niagara Cooperative. 

The rumor is that a current expansion at O-AT-KA is for the local plant to start making yogurt ingredients.

It's unknown who the ingredients will be sold to, but Upstate purchased a 100-year-old, one-line yogurt plant in Watertown about a year ago.

Charitably, Stephen said, the Watertown plant is "historic," but it shows Upstate's intention to move into the yogurt business.

Whatever product Pepsi brings to market, Stephen said, will be thoroughly researched and well marketed.

"I have very high respect for Pepsi," Stephen said. "They are efficient in manufacturing and production and very good marketers. They are not the kind of company that gives up."

It's unknown whether Pepsi will purchase its dairy products through O-AT-KA or directly from farmers (those are discussions that probably haven't even taken place yet, Stephen said), but as for farmers, Stephen said they will be happy working with Pepsi.

Pepsi, he said, takes an approach that being easy to work with helps lower costs.

"I think the farmers will want to do business with them," he said.

As for milk supply, the market will probably be shaken up for awhile initially, but the big farmers have little trouble adding capacity (more cows) and there should be an ample milk supply in Western New York to meet the needs of Pepsi, Alpina and O-AT-KA, and any other players that enter the market at the ag park.

Perhaps the worst news for other dairy businesses, Stephen said, is that if Pepsi wants to hire an employee, they will hire that employee. They will spend what it takes, he said, to get the best employees, especially in key positions.

But it's a great pool of employees that is attracting Pepsi to Batavia, Stephen said.

For years, he's been telling dairy companies to stop manufacturing in places like Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia because the standard of living is so much better in smaller communities.

Employees can actually afford to buy a house in a place like Batavia. That isn't true in larger population centers. And, Stephen said, the schools are good, and that's attractive to a major employer.

"You have a pretty high quality of life," Stephen said. "It's a pretty attractive place to put people who are going to work for you for a long time."

May 23, 2011 - 2:25pm
posted by Sarah Noble Moag in technology, agriculture, dairy, local, teamwork, working with animals.
Company Name: 
Noblehurst Farms Inc.
Job Type: 
Full-Time

September 1, 2009 - 8:00pm

The best-tasting milk and dip in New York State comes from Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc.’s plants in Rochester and West Seneca, respectively. Genesee County milk suppliers participate in the co-op.

Cornell University’s Department of Food Science honored the cooperative’s Upstate Farms Milk and Bison Creamy Dill Dip products at the New York State Fair’s Dairy Day on Aug. 31.

Company representatives were invited to take home the Gold Medallion, accompanied by the Blue Ribbon. Ken Voelker, director of marketing at Upstate Niagara Cooperative pointed out that “Winning the gold reflects our member farmers’ commitment to produce the best milk and dairy products possible. We look forward to continually enhancing the quality of the products that we deliver throughout the U.S.” 

Bison Creamy Dill Dip, manufactured by Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc., is one of the company’s newest dip flavors, joining its popular flavor line-up. All Bison® dips are made with fresh sour cream and include flavors like French Onion, Southwestern Chipotle, Creamy Ranch, Roasted Garlic & Parmesan, and Reduced Fat French Onion.

Cornell University’s Department of Food and Science conducted the tests. Analysis focused on appearance, mouth feel and overall taste. The annual selection is a part of the New York State Quality Improvement and enjoys participation from nearly all commercial dairy producers in New York.   
   
Upstate Niagara Cooperative (formerly Upstate Farms) is owned and operated by a close-knit family of over 390 local dairy-farm families who care deeply about quality and freshness. The cooperative has been supplying a wide variety of fresh, high-quality dairy products under the Upstate Farms, Bison and Intense brands, for more than 40 years.

August 28, 2009 - 2:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, agriculture, dairy, byron, Gillibrand.

Here's the verbatim testimony of Byron dairy farmer Robin Denniston-Keller given at the Senate hearing on the dairy industry held at GCC on Thursday.

It's titled "Legislative Responses to the Dairy Crisis: Reforming the Pricing Structure."

"...I am a proud American dairy farmer. My husband and I milk 100 Jersey cows and take care of another 100 young stock on our farm 10 minutes northeast of here in Byron, New York. It’s a privilege and honor to be asked to speak today.

"I’m not an economist or an expert on milk pricing, but I do feel I have common sense and a strong work ethic, which have served me well so far in life. I milk my own cows every day, and being up to my elbows in the results of lactation and excretion (generally not at the same time!) gives me a certain sense of reality!

August 27, 2009 - 7:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, genesee county, GCC, agriculture, dairy, Hillibrand.

BATAVIA, NY -- About 200 people attended a formal Senate hearing this afternoon at Genesee Community College focused on a dairy industry in crisis and possible solutions.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand heard testimony from producers and processors, economists and dairy industry experts. At the end of the two-hour hearing, which started about a half hour late, she said she was taking some good ideas back to Washington to use in developing long-term fixes.

The dairy industry is hard hit by: a pricing structure that's based on only 2 percent of the industry's products: higher fuel and feed costs; trade inequities; the expense of meeting increased regulations and standards not required by international competitors; and by a swiftly fluctuating market -- stemming from changing demands, the impact of product perishibility and supply -- plus many other factors.

It's a tough business and it requires a certain youthfulness to do the heavy physical labor, 365-days-a-year, with a liklihood of losing money at the end of the year instead of making a profit.

One of the surest ways of increasing the health of the dairy industry, is to increase consumer demand for its products. Several spoke in favor of the federal government doing more to help out, such as buying more milk for school breakfast programs, stocking up food banks with cheese or buying powdered milk for women and infant nutrition programs. In other words, use more Department of Agriculture money going toward food purchases anyway to beef up dairy consumption.

To compete with a ever-increasing variety of thirst-quenching beverages, the dairy industry needs to develop new products and boost the flavor, "mouth feel," and nutrition of milk without adding fat or calories.

They also called for leveling the field when it comes to trade. Why does an American dairy farmer have to pay a 15-cent per-hundred-weight fee for marketing and promotion, when the foreign importer does not yet still enjoys the benefits?

One good way to boost oversees consumption is to sell more solid milk product, which is in great demand worldwide. But more production plants are needed. Yet a capital expansion program for Batavia has been on hold since 2005 pending USDA approvals.

Rep. Eric Massa said he'll enlist his colleagues to pressure the USDA to speed things up if Kim Pickard-Dudley drafts him a letter on why the capital expansion program is critical for Western New York. She spoke as a representative of the farmer-owned Upstate Niagara Co-op.

Robert Church advocated "market-driven solutions" and federalizing uniform industry standards, so states like California, do not have unfair advantage over Western New York's dairy industry. He's herd manager for Patterson Farms, a 980-cow operation west of Auburn.

"You said one-size-fits-all," Massa told Church. "My job is to protect New York. That's what I'm here to do."

The problems faced by New Mexico, California or Arizona dairies, compared to here, are vastly different because their circumstances are different, Massa said, about as different in fact as Mars is from Pluto.

"California cows are happy cows," so goes the marketing slogan, but Massa said here it's more like "New York cows are really angry cows."

August 27, 2009 - 6:59pm
posted by Bea McManis in dairy, Lee, Gillibrand, Massa, price reform.

milk2.jpgCongressman Massa, Senator Gillibrand, and Congressman Lee listened to two panels.  The first Producers and Processors, the second consisted of Economists and Experts.

The best lines of the day....Congressman Massa, after learning that each NY dairy farmer must contribute to a national promotion fund, part of which is used by the State of California to promote their California Happy Cow ads in New York State. Fifteen cents per hundredweight is levied on all milk marketed commercially in NYS.

He asked, "Why can't we produce ads for...let's say... New York Happy Yankee Cows, and play them in California?".

When told that it is tradition that  dairy farmers' have responsibility to transport milk to the processor...just like lobster fisherman must arrange transportation of their catch from the ship to the cannery.

Congressman Massa mused, "I don't know how to milk a lobster."

June 11, 2009 - 9:23am
posted by Bea McManis in agriculture, dairy, local business.

With all this talk about Lamb Farm, I went hunting and found their website.

It is well worth the time to look through it all.  Make sure you click on the videos of the clipper and the milking merry go round.

Fascinating.

http://lambfarmsinc.net/index.html

June 10, 2009 - 7:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dairy, genesee county legislature.

dairy_proclamation.jpg

County Legislator Charles Zambito, Elba, presents a proclamation in honor of dairy month to Dairy Princes Mackenzie Reynolds and Eric Zuber.  Following the proclamation, ice cream sandwiches, an annual tradition, were handed out to every person in the chamber. Um, good.

June 9, 2009 - 5:55pm
posted by Steve Hawley in dairy, steve hawley, farm, NY Farm Bureau.

 

HAWLEY CELEBRATES NYS DAIRY DAY

CALLS ON GOVERNOR & SENATE TO “VOTE NO”
ON “FARM DEATH BILL”

 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) today joined Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R, C, I – Canandaigua), bipartisan members of the State Legislature, representatives from the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York Farm Bureau, New York Grange, Northeast Dairy Foods, and American Dairy Association, along with local New York State farmers in celebration and recognition of New York State Dairy Day. 

 

Additionally, the coalition discussed the negative impacts of Assembly Bill 1867, dubbed the “Farm Death Bill” and called on the State Senate and Governor to “vote no” on the bill, which was passed by the Assembly last evening.

 

Hawley stated, “I was a third generation family farmer and I know firsthand how difficult it is to run a farm successfully.  Right now farmers are losing money on every gallon of milk, every pound of grain, because production costs here are so high.  We are in the midst of one of the worst recessions in decades and now is not the time to add additional burdens on our farmers.”

 

The Assemblyman continued, “This onerous bill, if passed into law, will be the death of New York State’s farms.  Farming is not just a job, it is a way of life and I want to keep that quality of life around for many more generations.”

 

May 22, 2009 - 10:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, dairy.

As The Batavian reported two months ago, Genesee County's dairy farmers have been squeezed by falling prices and higher production costs -- with prices being driven from excess milk supplies during the recession.

The New York Farm Bureau, lead by local dairyman Dean Norton, has convinced the federal government to increase dairy exports, which should help tighten supply and bring prices back in line with production costs.

The move comes after months of advocating from Farm Bureau's farmer/members who directly lobbied USDA with Congressional visits in Washington, sent e-mail messages and called or wrote hundreds of letters to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack.

"Our members should be proud of their hard work in lobbying for USDA to activate the Dairy Export Incentive Program to help alleviate our dairy crisis," said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau and a dairy farmer from Batavia.

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