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Dairy is a significant part of the agricultural output of New York state. New York ranks forth out of the fifty states in dairy production. The state's nearly 4,000 dairy farms annually produce over 15 billion pounds of milk. [1]


During the colonial era, dairy cows were a typical part of farms. Their milk was turned into butter and cheese which could be stored easily

At the end of the 19th century, with the population of the state rapidly expanding, farms began to focus entirely on dairy. Farms became larger operations that shipped their products to cities in their regions on railroad. With the advent of refrigeration and strict food safety laws, fresh unadulterated milk could easily be purchased by all classes. [2] [3]

Today, dairy farming is concentrated in Upstate New York.

Environmental impact

The manure produced by the New York dairy industry has been a notable source of pollution to nearby bodies of water. For instance, streams in Upstate New York have seen elevated levels of estrogen linked with the manure lagoons storing cow either overflowing or leaking into groundwater. Higher levels of estrogen in water ecosystems can inhibit reproduction in aquatic creatures such as fish. [4] In the Cannonsville watershed, agriculture that is mainly dairy production is estimated to be responsible for 55-70% of phosphorus non-point source pollution. [5]

See also


  1. ^ "2019 NEW YORK STATE DAIRY STATISTICS REPORT" (PDF). 2019. Retrieved 2020-12-06.
  2. ^ "A Journal for MultiMedia History feature article. "The 1939 Dairy Farmers Union Milk Strike in Heuvelton and Canton, New York: the Story in Words and Pictures."". Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  3. ^ Holloway, Marguerite (2016-10-30). "Inside the Final Days of New York City's Last Dairy". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  4. ^ Zhao, Sherry; Zhang, Pengfei; Melcer, Michael E.; Molina, John F. (28 January 2010). "Estrogens in streams associated with a concentrated animal feeding operation in upstate New York, USA". Chemosphere. 79 (4): 420–425. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2010.01.060. ISSN  0045-6535.
  5. ^ M. W. Gitau; W.J. Gburek (2005). "Best Management Practice Effects for Phosphorus Control on a Dairy Farm: The Cannonsville Reservoir Watershed, New York". 2005 Tampa, FL July 17-20, 2005. St. Joseph, MI: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. doi: 10.13031/2013.19801.