Friday, December 7, 2012
It’s the Milk: Upstate New York Is Blessed; Cornell Assists Industry with Innovation
“I think if you were to look around the world, you would not find a better place to milk cows and turn that milk into consumer goods than you would here in this region of the United States,” said Patrick Hooker, former state commissioner of agriculture and current director of Agribusiness Development at the Empire State Development Corp., in a November 8, 2012 article in pressconnects.com. The soil and temperature offer sustainable conditions, he said, and there are numerous advantages to the location.
Read the complete article HERE.
What does all this milk mean to New York’s economy?
According to Hooker: “(There are) 60 million consumers up and down the eastern part of the United States, all well within a day’s drive of this production area. And you’re talking about an ethnic and cultural diversity that you don’t see anywhere else in the world, either. And it is that sort of consumer demand that has driven this dairy industry here.”
In other words, there’s a lot of high-quality milk just waiting to be turned into products for this culturally diverse population, products that remind them of their home country. (Think Greek yogurt.) What an opportunity to innovate!
Due to such demand, while overall manufacturing jobs dropped 9% in New York state from 2005 to 2011, the state’s dairy manufacturing job base increased by 3%. To fill new dairy jobs, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences plays a big role in training the workforce and retraining displaced workers from lost manufacturing jobs. The university is also in the processing of developing new certificate, continuing education and possibly degree programs to meet these demands.
Cornell is helping the dairy industry innovate
Cornell’s involvement with the dairy industry stretches back almost 100 years, when what is now the Department of Food Science was formed. To assist with putting this milk to good use, the department recently hosted a forum addressing the current yogurt boom and the ways it can benefit the state’s dairy industry.
The university is in the process of completing a $105 million renovation to Stocking Hall, which will include a pilot plant where industries can research, develop and run small-batch trials for new products; and a new 12,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art dairy processing plant that will process annually some 1.5 million pounds of raw milk from Cornell cows, and 20,000 gallons of yogurt a year, along with cheeses, ice cream and other dairy products. The facilities, which are slated to open in spring 2013, will offer sites to train students and give workshops to industry professionals.
To read more about Cornell’s capabilities, visit HERE.