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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.

Farmers and foodies call for fracking ban

WBFO News file photo

A coalition of farmers and foodies are urging Governor Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State right away. Groups across the state are expected to meet throughout the week to alert the public to the risks they believe fracking poses to the state’s agricultural viability.

Food and Water Watch Organizer Rita Yelda helped organize Buffalo’s“Food not Fracking” event.

Yelda argues that the fracking process, involving the underground injection of water, chemicals and sand  releases radioactive waste and produces pollution in ground water and soil.

“The soil contamination and pollution combined with the land development and water consumption really threatens the health, safety, and viability of New York State’s production of vegetables, beer, wine, dairy products. It could really have a devastation impact on some of the industries that we really call the pride of New York State,” said Yelda.

Rite Yelda says dairy farmers report that they're already seeing the negative impacts due to fracking.

“In Pennsylvania, in Tioga County in 2010, there was a fracking waste water storage pond that leaked and it ended up spilling into a pasture where 28 cattle were grazing. Eight of the eleven calves that were born from those cattle were stillborn,” said Yelda.

Yelda said they hope their message will spark change before fracking destroys upstate’s agricultural community.

Industry and groups like the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York dispute claims that fracking waste water poses long-term risks to agriculture. 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is engaged in a major study of waste water generated by the fracking process.