Schumer Wants In On The Yogurt Action
Several hours after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s highly anticipated and first-of-its-kind Yogurt Summit concluded, Sen. Chuck Schumer sent out a press release calling on New York dairy farmers to “lead the charge” in supporting his legislation that will provide those who wish to expand their operations to meet the demand fueled by the Greek yogurt boom with the financial tools they need to do so.
The senior senator’s plan, called - what else? – the Dairy Augmentation for Increased Retail in Yogurt products Act, (or DAIRY, for short – not sure where that final “p” went). It allow farmers who purchase cows that are already in production to write off the animals as a capital expense, lowering their overall tax burden.
Schumer’s bill would also establish federal savings accounts targeted to farmers to help them save and grow during both booms and lulls in business. The accounts would be structured to reward savings during periods when business is strong and defer taxes on those savings until farmers must withdraw funds to cover new expenses or manage cash flow.
“The bottom line is that in order to meet the growing demand for their product as a result of this welcome Greek yogurt boom, our dairy farmers will need a helping hand to expand their herds in a timely and cost-effective way,” Schumer said.
“And my legislation, the DAIRY Act, will enable them to do just that by treating new livestock the same way that we already treat heavy equipment, when it comes to tax incentives. It is a solution that goes to the heart of the problem, and we need strong support from the whole dairy community to create the momentum to get it done.”
“The DAIRY Act will give the New York dairy community the boost it needs to ride the Greek yogurt wave…After years of struggle caused by the recession, I want to make sure as much of that milk as possible comes from New York and that our state’s dairy farmers don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to grow their businesses.”
Then, in keeping with the detail-oriented (dare I say obsessive?) nature of the storied Schumer press operation, there’s a detailed breakdown of how many cows are located in each region of the state and how many more pounds of milk they must produce annually in order to keep pace with the projected 15 percent increase necessary to meet the needs of the ballooning yogurt industry.
According to Schumer, between the Fage, Alpina, Chobani, and new Pepsi Muller Quaker yogurt product plants, New York farmers will have to produce 1,879,860,000 additional pounds of milk each year to keep up with demand.
Now, Schumer is a consummate press hound, and so it’s not at all surprising for him to try to piggyback on the news of the day.
But his release raised my eyebrows a tad because it sort of seemed like he was trying to steal Cuomo’s thunder a bit – especially since the take away from yesterday’s summit was the administration’s proposal to ease the environmental regulation regarding manure disposal to encourage farmers to expand the size of their herd, which is in part the focus of Schumer’s plan.
This comes almost one week after Cuomo elbowed in on an issue Schumer was focused on: Trying to keep the Bills in Buffalo.
On Aug. 8, Schumer was holding a press conference in Buffalo pushing a plan that would alter the NFL’s loan program in order to receive up to $25 million earmarked for renovations at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Hours later, Cuomo announced he had retained the services of “nationally-recognized sports expert” Irwin Rajj to advise him on how to prevent the popular football team from departing the Queen City.
So, maybe this was a case of Schumer returning the favor? Once upon a time, he was mulling a run for governor, (he would have crowded out then-AG Eliot Spitzer), but decided instead to remain in the Senate to become one of the chamber’s most powerful and prominent leaders.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on August 16, 2012 at 11:41 am, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo, Chuck Schumer, Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|