Tonawanda News — U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., was glad to see the extension pass, but expressed his disappointment that the House did not passed the five year 2012 legislation that included many important reforms.
A dramatic spike in milk prices would have been devastating to consumers across the state and the country, Schumer said.
“I am pleased that the year-end fiscal cliff deal includes a provision to avoid the ‘dairy cliff,’ which would have meant chaos for family farmers and sticker shock throughout New York’s supermarkets, with the doubling of milk prices,” Schumer said. “For months, I have urged the House of Representatives to pass the Senate’s bipartisan five-year Farm Bill and while the extension of the 2008 Farm Bill is far from perfect, it avoids an unnecessary burden on families, schools and farmers alike.”
The dairy industry is New York’s largest contributor to the agricultural economy and in 2009 generated $1.7 billion. According to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets dairy statistics, there are 5,400 dairy farms in New York and as a state, New York ranks first in cottage cheese production and third in mozzarella and cheddar cheese production. One-third of New York’s milk production is for drinking and two-thirds is for processed dairy products such as Greek yogurt and ice cream.
The nine-month extension of the Farm Bill was added to the fiscal-cliff deal before it passed the Senate in the early hours Tuesday. The House of Representatives passed the bill Tuesday night.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.