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March 25, 2012

Farm briefs: March 25, 2012

February milk production increases

ALBANY — New York dairy herds produced 1,055 million pounds of milk during February. Milk cows were unchanged, but production per cow was up from the previous year resulting in a 6.8 percent increase in milk production compared to February 2011.

The number of milk cows averaged 610,000 head, unchanged from February of the previous year. Milk per cow averaged 1,730 pounds, up 110 pounds from last year at this time.

Dairy farmers in the Empire State received an average of $18.80 per hundredweight of milk sold during February, down $1.70 from January and 80 cents from February a year ago.

Milk production in the 23 major states during February totaled 15.2 billion pounds, up 8.3 percent from February 2011. However, adjusting production for the additional day due to leap year causes February milk production to be up 4.6 percent on a per-day basis. January revised production, at 15.8 billion pounds, was up 3.9 percent from January 2011. The January revision represented an increase of 24 million pounds, or 0.2 percent, from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Gillibrand bill to support apple growers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has introduced legislation that would help New York apple growers streamline operations and save money.

The bill, endorsed by New York Apple Association and U.S. Apple Association, would exempt bulk shipments of U.S. apples to Canada from inspection required by the Apple Export Act, offering growers immediate savings of approximately $300 per truckload and allowing growers to create their own distribution schedules, eliminating costly after-hours inspection procedures.

"Our farmers play a vital role in the economic development and food security of the state," Gillibrand said. "This bill would ease burdensome regulations and allow our apple producers to streamline operations, cut costs and continue to grow their businesses."

Last year, more than 1.5 million bushels of New York apples were exported to Canada. Every year, 1,500 trucks each export close to 1,000 bushels of apples to Canada, so the inspection exemption would save growers close to $450,000 annually. In addition, the exemption would expedite the exportation process of more than 500,000 bushels of apples from New York to other countries by freeing up staffers to perform the required inspections on exports to other countries.

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