Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he would deliver on a request by farmers at a 2012 Yogurt Summit to eliminate burdensome regulations on small dairy farms to help increase milk production. And so came the DEC rule that lifts the current cap under the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFO, regulations from 199 dairy cows to 299 dairy cows. (and he’s being sued for it) Cuomo’s office said eliminating this costly regulatory burden on relatively small farms would allow farmers to reinvest their resources to expand operations, allowing the state to grow its milk production for the yogurt industry. The DEC regulations became effective in May.
Perhaps the Governor should check out what a small farm in NYS actually is.
According to Cornell University the state has 5400 dairies with an average size of 113 cows. 70% of NYS dairies have less than 99 cows according to the 2007 US Ag Census. So Cuomo’s help is going to those ‘relatively‘ small farms of 100+ cows who want to expand into larger herds.
What about helping those 39 thousand actual small farms stay in business?
CAFO environmental requirements for dairy farms came into being because the manure management for a large herd of dairy cattle is a monumental and difficult task. Small (small for real) farms were exempted because they were more likely to have the amount of land needed to properly dispose of manure using conventional pasturing and manure spreading processes.
Adding 100 head of dairy cattle, increases the manure load by the equivalent of 16000 people.
So hey Scarsdale (pop 17755) how about if 90% of your population simply spread their septic
on their front lawn?
Are you OK with that?
It would be another matter all together if NYS actually enforced the CAFO regulations, or even had enough inspectors to attempt to enforce those regulations, but it doesn’t. So the Governor’s bright idea is to simply let more dairies officially ignore the regulations.
Cathy Mural is senior associate director for public policy for the New York Farm Bureau stresses that the rule is not just a policy change, but part of a strategic initiative to help family farms grow responsibly.
( I guess that’s a new fangled definition of responsibly that I didn’t learn growing up in the country. Apparently disregarding rules and regulations is the ‘new’ responsible. If a rule is hard you don’t have to obey it.)
This is coming about because Cuomo wants NYS to be the new Greek Yogurt EMPIRE of the US. These big dairies as well as the manufacturing plants that are being built to make the Empire of Yogurt will also be sites for new Methane Digesters, purported to be the be all end all of waste problem solving. This is a big farce being foisted upon the NYS taxpayers in many districts.
Methane digesters also require very technical and expensive management and upkeep. They do NOT reduce the amount of waste that must be disposed of, and they often don’t function well in NYS climates. For the municipalities where the yogurt plants are being built, the taxpayers often end up footing the bill for a much more extensive water treatment facility. Learn more about farm waste management HERE:
Ohh – and what about all the JOBS that this is supposed to create?
One yogurt maker urged a resolution to the nation’s immigration issue —