In 2021, New York milk production totaled 1.24 billion pounds, only .2% less than in it was in 2020. There are also even more cows in the state than there were in 2020. In considering this, all signs should point towards milk sustaining a stagnant cost within the state.
But, that's not what happened. In fact, it's quite the opposite. The average price of milk has increased by $1.00 just between September and October 2021, marking a jarring turn of events for NY milk farmers and consumers alike.
Here's how this works:
The US government mandates all milk prices be combined so farmers are all paid the same price. Unsurprisingly, the formulas that determine these cost rates have hurt small farmers in New York the worst.
This time-sensitive dilemma has led politicians to call for new legislation. The proposal would force the USDA to revise its formulas, creating a fairer framework for producers throughout New York.
It makes sense that many of us should feel hopeful about this proposed legislation and therefore the expected reworking of USDA formulas, but history reminds us that big-business farming is almost always prioritized in situations like this one.
That's why we feel so especially strongly about supporting our small, local farmers. These institutions rely on their community customer bases to sustain their businesses which are already suffering from government sanctions and inequitable mandates, financial and otherwise.
It's up to us to protect these local food systems, for these are the producers that supply us with honest nutrients and offer us an option to eat clean, organic food that's traceable right down to the seedling.
Article by Local Roots contributor Jess Santoro // @jess_santoro
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