The Dairy Crisis Gripping New York's Farmers

The causes of the dire dairy situation and how county leaders can help.
New York's Dairy Crisis
Dairy is an important part of New York State's agriculture industry, accounting for nearly half of the state's total agricultural sales. In recent years, dairy farmers – the backbone of this critical sector of the economy – have fallen on hard times. An overabundance of milk, flagging demand, dramatically lower prices, higher operating costs, and unfavorable weather have made it difficult for dairy farmers to turn a profit and driven hundreds out of business.

Recently, NYSAC's Standing Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs hosted a webinar to discuss the dairy crisis impacting New York's farmers. We heard four distinct perspectives from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a financial lender for farmers, a milk-producing cooperative, and a working dairy farmer. The presentations shed light on the unique financial and mental health challenges farmers face. Find the full webinar on NYSAC TV.  

Resources for Farmers
Counties support farmers through agriculture programs, promoting local agriculture products and tourism, advocating for state agriculture funding, and working directly with farmers and producers to address their needs.

Dairy farmers will require additional federal, state, and local assistance to weather this crisis. County leaders can help by sharing the following resources with local farmers:

Counseling Services
NY FarmNet is a service that provides free and confidential emotional/mental health counseling, as well as financial and business consulting.

Dairy Markets and Policy Tool
Cornell University worked with leading land grant economists in the dairy sphere to create a website that contains the latest pricing forecasts and a variety of different tools, including a written summary of recent changes to the USDA's Margin Protection Program (MPP) that may qualify some farmers for additional insurance coverage.

Additional Risk Management Assistance
This week, Cornell University and FarmCredit hosted a webinar to help explain to dairy farmers their risk management options for the MPP.