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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.

Farming app for upstate distributor

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Jenna Flanagan
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Innovation Trail
Sen. Charles Schumer at Field Goods Farm.

Want to know what crops local farmers are producing? There’s an app for that or at least there will be one soon. 

Sen. Chuck Schumer announced federal funding for Greene County food distributor, Field Goods to integrate technology into their business model.

Donna Williams’ company Field Goods connects many of the Capital Regions and Hudson Valley farms with a larger diverse consumer base, but it can be tricky.

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Credit Jenna Flanagan / Innovation Trail
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Innovation Trail
Sen. Charles Schumer with Donna Williams of Field Goods farm.

"Getting produce from local farmers, particularly in the north east, their inventory can change radically overnight," she said. "So this app will help us get that information in a more consolidated way."

The yet unnamed app would allow farmers to give real time information on the produce they’ll be sending to Field Goods for distributing.

Schumer says supporting a company like Field Goods benefits upstate agriculture.

“Field Goods has found the sweet spot. It’s the perfect match between consumers who want locally grown healthy fruits and vegetables each week and farmers who want to sell products that are in abundance without a lot of middle men," he said.

The $50,000 grant is through the USDA and should help stream line communication between the 70 local farms Field Goods works with and their more than 2,000 customers.

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