Albany, NY, Feb 05, 2013 — Governor Cuomo announced two new programs to help dairy farmers grow alongside the booming Greek yogurt business in New York.
In a press release, Cuomo said the programs came out the so-called Yogurt Summit held last fall. That event aimed to find ways to take economic advantage of the growing number of Greek-style yogurt plants in Upstate New York. New York needs to produce more milk to feed those plants.
One program will provide grants of up to $5,000 to help dairy farms grow bigger or become more efficient.
Another existing program will expand. It'll double to $2 million the amount farms can get to install anaerobic digesters. Those are things that turn cow manure into biogas, which is then burned in engines to produce electricity. Officials say they help farmers manage waste, reduce energy use, and save money on electricity bills.
It's unclear when the programs will start or how farmers can apply. The New York Farm Bureau praised the new efforts.
Another proposal that came out of the Yogurt Summit will be more controversial. Governor Cuomo wants to raise from 200 to 300 the number of cows that would trigger more sophisticated and costly management plans on farms for preventing farm runoff and pollution. Environmental groups have already said they'll fight it.