New York was recently named yogurt capital of the United States, and this week Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched several initiatives to help keep the industry moving in the right direction.

“New York is proud to be home to a robust agriculture industry that supports thousands of jobs and provides the economic lifeblood for families and communities across the state,” Cuomo said. “Over the past two and a half years we have worked hard to support the growth of our already vibrant agriculture industry, including cutting burdensome regulations and helping small dairy farms expand their herds. Today’s actions will enable dairy farmers to better plan for future expansions as well as reduce the costs for installing environmentally-friendly waste to energy digesters.”

Among the initiatives announced by Cuomo is the Dairy Acceleration Program, making $1 million in funding available to help dairy farmers develop individualized business and environmental plans.

Through the program, farmers will be able to tap into the expertise of the Cornell Cooperative Extension network, Cornell PRO-DAIRY and other agricultural programs to facilitate and grow their business and in turn increase production on their farms. Click here to apply for the program.  

 Cuomo also pointed to recent legislation supporting farmers in their efforts to concern farm waste into renewable energy through anaerobic digesters.

“New York’s dairy farms are in a unique position to benefit from the exciting ascension of the yogurt industry as they supply healthy, local milk to the yogurt makers in their own “backyard.” Governor Cuomo’s new initiatives will not only help our farms grow in a responsible way, but in turn, will help our rural economy grow as well. We appreciate his continued recognition that New York’s diverse farms are an integral part of the business community Upstate and on Long Island,” said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau.

Read Cuomo’s full news release.

New York’s is the nation’s fourth milk-producing state with milk sales accounting for one-half of the state’s total agricultural receipts.  According to the USDA, dairy farmers in the Empire State churned out 13.2 billion pounds of milk last year.