(Albany, NY) – Today, the New York State legislature celebrated Dairy Day to help kick off the designation of June as Dairy Month in the United States, a tradition dating back to 1937. Dairy Day celebrates the importance of New York’s more than 4,000 dairy farmers who care for more than 600,000 cows that produce over 12 billion pounds of milk annually. Between dairy farms and farm workers, on-farm creameries, dairy cooperatives, milk processors and dairy product manufacturers, distributors and direct-sale vendors, they account for over 63,000 jobs statewide and contribute $14 billion dollars in direct economic output. The event was co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Jen Metzger, Chairs of the Assembly and Senate Agriculture Committees.
“Dairy has been a cornerstone of our state’s agricultural economy for decades and millions of consumers across the country enjoy New York-made dairy products every day,” said Assemblywoman Lupardo. “Each year, Dairy Day is an opportunity to highlight the importance of this industry and allow lawmakers and visitors to the Capitol to taste for themselves why New York is a national dairy leader.”
“Dairy Day is an opportunity to celebrate New York’s dairy industry and the hard work, skills, innovation, stewardship and productivity of New York’s dairy sector–the top producing sector in New York agriculture,” said State Senator Metzger. “It’s also a chance to enjoy some delicious New York creamery products and the great health benefits that dairy offers.”
Nationally, New York dairy ranks 1st in yogurt, sour cream and cottage cheese, 3rd in milk production and in the number of cows, and 4th in cheese manufacturing. Milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products are known to provide healthy vitamins and nutrients, and are a strong source of riboflavin, Vitamin A, D, K, calcium, potassium and protein. These beneficial nutrients have been shown to help manage weight, and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers.
To celebrate Dairy Day, legislators were joined by the Northeast Dairy Foods Association, representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and creameries from across the state.