Congressman Higgins Recognizes National Dairy Month with Tour of Upstate Niagara Plant
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27), a member of the Congressional Dairy Farmers Caucus, recently paid a visit to the Upstate Niagara cultured products facility in West Seneca, N.Y. in honor of National Dairy Month.
“Dairy farming is a critical industry to Western New York’s economy,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “I enjoyed having the opportunity to see one of our district’s many dairy facilities first-hand.”
New York’s 27th district is ranked 68 out of all the Congressional districts, with dairy sales at $118.5 million and 337 farms. Upstate Niagara is a cooperative of 375 dairy farmers throughout Western New York. It markets 1.7 billion pounds of milk annually, and sells a wide variety of innovative products including milk, dip, ice cream mix, cottage cheese, yogurt, and flavor-based beverages, sold under the Upstate Farms, Bison, and Intense Milks brands.
In 2009, Congressman Higgins advocated for a stronger safety net and pricing reform in response to a collapse in dairy prices. He joined his House of Representatives colleagues in sending two separate letters to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack and federal Budget Director Peter Orszag asking for support of dairy prices. Congressman Higgins also supported several pieces of legislation, which would have reformed the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program to provide relief for dairy farmers.
Upstate Niagara opened its cultured products facility in West Seneca in May 2006. It is one of the organization’s four manufacturing facilities and employs 170 of the company’s 1,000 employees. The plant processes 150 million pounds of milk annually, and produces over 300 different items, including USDA organic certified yogurt and the popular Bison Dip products.