New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he’s easing some environmental regulations so that dairy farmers can more easily own more cows. The news came at the first ever yogurt summit convened by Cuomo at the State Capitol Aug. 15. Cuomo chaired a public meeting that brought together dairy farmers, yogurt makers and an array of state officials. He says with the phenomenal success of Greek yogurt, the struggling upstate economy has been presented with one of the best entrepreneurial opportunities in “30 or 40 years”.

The rapid growth of Greek yogurt has revived the dairy industry in New York. Two new processing plants employ 1,800 people, and Chobani yogurt, based near Utica, is now the No. 3 yogurt producer in the nation.

Click here to read a previous article about one of the new processing plants.

The industry has been growing so quickly, however, that the state doesn’t have enough cows to produce all the milk that’s needed. It’s estimated that 180,000 more milk cows are needed to keep up with the growing production.

Many smaller dairy farmers are complaining that some environmental regulations are holding them back from helping the yogurt industry reach that goal.


The state currently sets a threshold at 200 cows, before requiring that extra steps are taken to protect water supplies from pollution by cow wastes. It’s part of what’s called the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFO rules.

After hearing testimony from several farmers during the summit, Agriculture Commissioner Darrell Aubertine announced that the rule would be changed to increase the animal threshold required for the CAFO permit from 200 to 300.

The governor says it will take several months for the rules change to go through the process. Those with objections will get a chance to comment. PD

—From WXXI News (Click here to read the full article.)