There are simply not enough cows in New York to support is rapidly growing Greek yogurt industry, which now boasts 29 plants throughout the state. As a result, Governor Cuomo is looking at a plan to ease regulations on large scale dairy operations. This includes exempting farms with up to 300 cows from regulations requiring extra measures to prevent pollution from cow waste. Currently only farms with up to 200 cows are eligible.
However, not everyone thinks this is a good idea. While Tom Borden, president of the Washington County Farm Bureau feels that the proposal would help approximately 800 farms across the State stay in business by making a small expansion affordable, environmental groups are not happy.
In fact, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups claim that, if passed, this would not only add 25,000 cows to New York’s herd, but also result in more than “3 million pounds of added urine and feces a day that could potentially infiltrate and pollute ground and surface water sources, as well as the air.”
According to Cuomo, “Greek yogurt (which is thicker and creamier than traditional yogurt, thus requiring more milk) is one of the best entrepenurial opportunities in a generation.” Still, even if the new rules are approved, not all dairy farms would have the desire or the resources to expand.