Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced her assignment as chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Local Food Systems, and Food Safety and Security. The subcommittee oversees many matters important to New York, including dairy and food safety issues. In this role, Senator Gillibrand will push for transparency and reform in dairy pricing systems to ensure farmers are receiving a fair price for their milk.
“I am honored to serve as the chair of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Local Food Systems, and Food Safety and Security where I will be a tireless advocate for New York’s dairy and livestock farmers who have kept our nation fed throughout the pandemic,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Dairy farmers in particular have historically been hurt by volatile and unfair pricing and I will use my position as chair to fight for further transparency in the industry so that farmers are able to make ends meet. In addition, I will continue working to fortify food and nutrition assistance to help those in need and ensure that our trade partners such as Canada comply with the agricultural provisions of our trade deals.”
New York State has nearly 4,000 dairy farms that produce over 15 billion pounds of milk annually, making New York the nation’s fourth largest dairy state and the largest producer of yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream. The dairy industry is the State’s largest agricultural sector, contributing significantly to the State’s economy by generating nearly half of the State’s total agricultural revenue. However, in recent years New York’s dairy farmers have faced increasing challenges. In the early months of the pandemic, they were forced to dump up to 35 million pounds of milk in a single week while prices plummeted and processing plants closed in response to COVID-19. Additionally, poor implementation of USMCA dairy provisions continue to hurt New York producers and create and inequitable playing field for American dairy exports in Mexico and Canada.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Senator Gillibrand will also join two other subcommittees. The Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research oversees programs regarding food and nutrition assistance, school meals, non-program crops, organic production, and research. The Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade oversees matters regarding production agriculture, including commodity programs, crop insurance, commodity exchanges, agriculture trade, international food assistance, and credit.