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New York losing dairy farms

Feb 20, 2024 12:59 pm

Joshua Solomon reports in the Times Union that while the number of dairy cattle in New York is about the same as a decade ago, half of the state’s dairy farms from a decade ago no longer exist. New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture also show the dairy industry’s labor and production costs rising nearly 50 percent during the five-year period beginning in 2017. Christopher A. Wolf, a professor at the Cornell Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management, said, “The dairy industry is so important in rural New York.... You’re seeing rural areas struggling a lot more and part of it is because of the loss of these economic drivers.” The Department of Agriculture said there are 5,000 fewer farms and nearly 700,00 less acres of farmland in New York over the last decade. Justin Wilcox, executive director of Upstate United, said, “While the reality of this situation is disturbing, it comes following countless warnings from those who saw the writing on the wall.... We have watched one bad policy after another pushed through Albany in recent years making it exceedingly difficult for farms to continue feeding New Yorkers.” The number of farms nationally has declined by about 10 percent over the last decade. Read more about this story in the Times Union.