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Local News

March 8, 2013

Officials: Moves will boost N.Y. dairy farms

Federal and state officials announced action Thursday on several fronts that could benefit dairy farmers supplying the Greek yogurt industry. A spokeswoman at one of the company’s that could benefit said she appreciated the efforts.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a media release he is launching a two-part plan to provide state dairy farmers who wish to expand their operations to meet the demand being substantially fueled by the Greek yogurt boom. With increased demand for brands such as Chobani, the New York Farm Bureau predicts the state’s dairy farmers will need to be able to expand their output by 15 percent to keep pace.

To help dairy owners who wish to expand, Schumer plans to introduce the DAIRY (Dairy Augmentation for Increased Retail in Yogurt products) Act with Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. It would establish federal savings accounts targeted to farmers to help them save and grow during booms and to weather market downturns. The accounts would be structured to reward savings during periods when business is strong and defer taxes on those savings until farmers must withdraw funds to cover new expenses or manage cash flow.

He also introduced a second bill that will allow farmers who purchase cows that are already in production to write off the cows as a capital expense, lowering their overall tax burden.

“Upstate New York was recently dubbed the ‘Silicon Valley of Greek Yogurt,’ and I want our dairy farmers to have the financial tools to keep pace with that exciting growth in a way that stabilizes risk for them during the up-and-downs of the market,” Schumer said.

“We appreciate Sen. Schumer’s efforts on behalf of our dairy farmers,” Chobani director of corporate communications Melissa Stagnaro said. “We currently receive milk from more than 850 farms, and we want to see each of them have the opportunity to prosper and grow.”

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