© 2024 Innovation Trail
The 800 pound butter sculpture of a scene off the farm (seen here on the World Dairy Business Blog) is usually the headliner at the Dairy Building of the New York State Fair.But people wait in a long line for another hot item being used to promote New York’s dairy industry: a cup of milk that costs a quarter at the dairy bar.That includes a young James Moore, who says "It’s the best chocolate milk and white milk I’ve ever tasted in my life." "The Chocolate is more chocolaty and it’s nice and cold."The milk is all whole milk, which probably helps. Chocolate milk rules overall. The milk bar serves five cups of chocolate for every cup of plain milk.Mary Ellen Chesbro, agricultural manager for the fair says the total cups served goes up every year. This year, she's hoping the milk bar will top 400,000 cups of milk out this year.The whole operation is run by a task force of volunteers from the dairy industry, from farmers to distributors. The goal is to promote New York dairy – the state’s biggest agricultural product.Seventeen-year old Dale Durant, who serves milk to fairgoers says it can get pretty busy at the counter."Really nice days there’s a lot of people here. Weekends we get really busy."So to get a taste, go when it’s raining.And keep an eye out for the other smart entrepreneurial move in the Dairy building - the Syracuse bakery selling cookies next to the milk bar.

Auburn milk plant hopes to capitalize on export market

Ryan Delaney
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D - N.Y.), second from left, speaks with dairy farmers outside a milk processing plant being built in Auburn, N.Y.

A new dairy processing facility under construction in Cayuga County plans to make most of its money on the export market and its owners are hoping trade rule changes don’t hinder that.

An $80 million dairy facility going up in Auburn plans to sell powdered milk to countries in Asia and North Africa, but current trade rules with some of those countries could make exporting their products difficult.

Cayuga Milk Ingredients, LLC. is a partnership between 21 dairy farmers in the county. Kevin Ellis, the project's CEO, said they thought about regular milk, yogurt and cheese first.

"And then we got into powdered milks and more or less the protein market," he said. "We saw an incredible demand for protein worldwide. And as the wealth of the nations were increasing, we saw it has a great opportunity."

Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO
An $80 million milk processing plant is under construction in Auburn.

As the U.S. negotiates new trade agreements with some of those nations, the 21 farmers behind the project are asking to be allowed to export more milk.

"The farmers who have invested in this plant have invested heavily and we feel very confident that this will be a success," Ellis said.

Sen. Charles Schumer has stepped in to say he’ll help. He says countries like New Zealand allow unfair monopolies on dairy.

"They don't play fair or play by the rules," he said Thursday while on a visit to the site.

The Democratic senator has asked the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce to do what they can to decrease the barriers.

The milk processing facility in expected to be operational next year.

WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail
Related Content