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Dan Kastleton is a 9th generation dairy farmer from Herkimer; he is part of the Organic Vally dairy cooperative.
Dan Kastleton is a 9th generation dairy farmer from Herkimer; he is part of the Organic Vally dairy cooperative.

Lawmakers break for ice cream on Dairy Day

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Lawmakers are on a tight schedule in Albany this week. With the end of the legislative session set for June 21, they're pushing the clock to finish work on a myriad of large and small issues, and get legislation passed before time runs out.

But they got a break yesterday (Tuesday), and it was a sweet one, as New York's dairy farmers brought their ice cream, chocolate milk, mozzarella string cheese. and their politics to lobby their legislators.

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Dan Kastleton is a 9th generation dairy farmer from Herkimer County who attended Dairy Day.  He’s part of the Organic Valley dairy cooperative, and he’s glad to be based in New York. He said, "Yeah, New York is a great state to be a dairy farmer in. We've got the land, the rolling hills, great for pasture. That's what our cows are, pasture-based dairy."

Kastleton says the taxes are a bit too high in New York, but he has mixed feelings about Governor Cuomo’s 2-percent property tax cap on local governments.  As a member of the school board in Herkimer, Kastleton sees the need for more tax money. However, as a dairy farmer and landowner, he doesn’t want increased property taxes

"I'm not happy about paying a huge sum of taxes every year when it comes to the school because whether you grow corn or hay, it shouldn't really be a land-based tax," said Kastleton. He talked about basing school funding on an income based tax.

Meanwhile, milkmaids in Mennonite dress, and former New York Giants running back Joe Morris, all showed up for Dairy Day.  Morris is spokesman for a campaign co-sponsored by the National Football League and the National Dairy Council.

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