Dairy Programs
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Overview

The Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services is responsible for all aspects of the state’s dairy industry. The Division has a dual role to protect the health and welfare of the people of New York State and to help promote the agricultural economic development of the dairy industry through various economic controls and programs.

Learn more about our programs below.

Interstate Milk Shippers Program

The Interstate Milk Shippers Program is a federal/state cooperative program designed to facilitate interstate movement of milk. Participating shippers under the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) must maintain their plants and dairy farms in substantial compliance with the Food and Drug Administration Pasteurized Milk Ordinance. These shippers must be rated once every two years and must receive a rating of 90 or above to maintain eligibility.

Each year, the Division's rating officers accompany FDA's Regional Milk Specialist in conducting check-ratings. Check-ratings are performed by the FDA to verify that the ratings given by our rating officers have been maintained by the individual plants and farms since the time of rating. If the state rating and evaluation program is not operated in substantial compliance, New York State plants are prohibited from freely moving milk and milk products in interstate commerce. The Division oversees and maintains compliance with all aspects of the Interstate Milk Shippers Program in order to ensure reciprocity among receiving states. 

Milk Producers Security Program

Licensed milk dealers who purchase milk directly from New York dairy farmers or cooperatives are required to file security to ensure that farmers are paid. A milk dealer can choose to pay into the Milk Producers Security Fund or provide full alternate security. Alternate security can be a bond or letter of credit covering 40 days of milk purchases. Dealers who pay into the security fund, unless exempted, must supplement such payments with a surety bond or letter of credit covering a minimum of twelve days purchases. Dealers who are financially weak may be required to provide security for more than the minimum amount. The amount of surety bond or letter of credit that a dealer is required to provide is based on the volume of milk purchases and a review of the financial information provided. Additional information is obtained through the licensing process, audits, and required reports permits regular monitoring of a dealer's purchases, timeliness of payments to producers, and financial condition. 

Exemption from the security requirement is granted to dealers who make only small purchases of milk from producers or cooperatives.

The Department additionally ensures compliance with the Cooperative Financial Disclosure Law. This law requires each dairy cooperative to furnish its members and prospective members with all pertinent financial and corporate information about the organization in a timely manner. Dairy farmer members of such cooperatives are thus assured of timely and complete information on the finances and operating policies of their marketing organizations.

Market Research and Dairy Statistics

The Division compiles and publishes statistics on all aspects of the New York dairy industry, including the number of milk plants and dealers, receipts and utilization of milk, milk sales, production of manufactured dairy products, prices and returns for milk, and descriptive information relative to the organization and structure of the industry. The information is compiled from various reports such as bulk tank unit, payment, plant, and route sale reports. Approximately 6,200 reports are processed each year.

Statistics and information are widely used by government, academia and the dairy industry for projections, research, policy-making, and planning. They also provide a basis for staff to analyze trends and developments in the New York dairy industry and to estimate future levels of milk supplies, sales and prices. Statistics are also furnished to the USDA for national dairy information programs.

View the annual statistical releases

Laboratory Inspections, Evaluations, and Licensing

The Division certifies laboratories that test milk, dairy products, and water. Laboratory Evaluation Officers conduct complete on-site evaluations once every two years. All laboratories are inspected every six months to ensure the accuracy of sample testing.  Split samples are delivered to participating New York State laboratories, plus laboratories in the states of Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Vermont, and are analyzed for various quality tests. The results are statistically analyzed to determine participating laboratories’ ability to correctly test the samples.

Milk Marketing Order

Nearly all milk produced by New York farmers is regulated under a federal or state Milk Marketing Order. These are voluntary programs that are initiated and approved by dairy farmers. Orders are enforced by state and federal governments after farmers approve their establishment through voting in a producer referendum. They enhance the orderly marketing of milk through terms and conditions that provide for minimum pricing, audits of receipts, disposition and payments for milk by handlers, and dissemination of market information. A system of classified milk pricing and market-wide pooling is used for cost uniformity among handlers and to yield an equitable return to all producers for the milk marketing areas. Market orders are periodically reviewed to ensure that they remain appropriate under changing economic environments.

The Division oversees the operation of the Western New York State Milk Marketing Order covering all or parts of 15 counties. The major population centers of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester New York are included in the state marketing area. The rest of the state is covered by the federal Order that regulates the Northeast Milk Market Area.