SCHUMER REVEALS: NEW FED PLAN TO CHANGE THE WAY NY MILITARY INSTALLATIONS GET THEIR MILK WOULD SPOIL BYRNE DAIRY, IMPACT LOCAL JOBS & PREVENT TROOPS FROM GETTING FRESHEST SUPPLY; NEW PLAN FAVORS LARGER CORPS OVER SMALLER CNY BUSINESSES; SENATOR URGES FEDS TO STICK WITH CURRENT SYSTEM THAT SUPPORTS ‘CUSE ECONOMY
For Seventeen Years, CNY’s Byrne Dairy Has Supplied Millions Of Gallons Of Locally Sourced Milk To New York Troops At Military Installations Like Ft. Drum; Byrne Delivers Farm-Fresh Milk From CNY Plant Directly To Our Troops
However, New Fed Proposal Would Require Dairies Bidding On Fed Contracts To Ship Larger Bulk Quantities To Warehouses Down South Before Coming To New York; Senator Says Distribution Model Is Inefficient & Would Sour Local Economy; Larger Corps Would Thrive & Quality Of Product May Diminish
Schumer: New Fed Plan On How Military Gets Their Everyday Dairy Would Be A Real Milk Dud For CNY Economy
Standing at Byrne Dairy’s Ultra Dairy facility, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today revealed that a new federal proposal by the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) to alter its current procurement and distribution models for fluid milk provided at military installations in New York State would have a detrimental impact on small, local dairy producers like Byrne Dairy—and our troops in New York.
Since 2001, Byrne Dairy has provided millions of gallons of locally sourced fluid milk to military facilities throughout New York State under contracts with DeCA. While the current model of delivering fresh fluid milk directly to military facilities has opened up an important market for smaller, regional dairy producers like Byrne Dairy, DeCA is now considering moving to a “warehouse” style distribution model, requiring producers who bid on contracts to ship products to warehouses down south before coming back to New York installations. Schumer said that the “warehouse” model would require producers to supply larger quantities and shoulder increased transportation costs, making it more difficult for smaller New York State dairy producers to compete and ceding the business to larger, national suppliers. Schumer called on DeCA to stick with its current distribution model to help support local jobs and farms.
“From Fort Drum to West Point, Byrne Dairy has provided high-quality, locally-sourced milk directly to New York’s military installation commissaries for nearly two decades. Not only does this ensure military personnel have the freshest milk that New York has to offer, but it has been a boon for Byrne Dairy jobs and the family farms it partners with. But the proposed ‘warehouse’ model being considered for New York’s military commissaries would cede this important market to larger, out of state dairy companies,” said Senator Schumer. “So today, I’m sounding the alarm on this proposal and telling DeCA to stick with the current model when it comes to stocking the shelves at military commissaries with milk. It’s more cost-effective, efficient and it supports our local economy and our family dairy farmers. The last thing our dairy farmers and producers need is to lose another market for milk.”
“Byrne Dairy has proudly served New York’s military installations with fresh, wholesome milk sourced right here in Central New York since 2001. We thank Senator Schumer for supporting our family farms and Byrne Dairy by urging DeCA to maintain its current delivery model so that can continue,’ said Carl Byrne, Chairman and Owner of Byrne Dairy.
Schumer explained that the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) – an agency of the Department of Defense that operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families – is considering a new procurement model. For many years, DeCA has stocked shelves at commissaries via a “direct-store-delivery” model, where suppliers would enter into contracts to directly ship products to specific military installations. This opened up an important market for local companies like Byrne Dairy to be able to compete for contracts at New York installations. Since 2001, Byrne Dairy has provided millions of gallons of its milk to facilities at Fort Drum, Fort Hamilton, Mitchell Field, Saratoga Springs and West Point. However, DeCA is now considering a “warehouse” style distribution model where military facilities in New York would be serviced from warehouses possibly located as far away as Maryland and Virginia. Schumer said that not only would this model be a barrier for smaller, local companies like Byrne Dairy, but it would not be cost-effective or efficient for fulfilling fluid milk orders.
The “warehouse” model would require those seeking contract accounts with DeCA to fulfill larger bulk quantity orders and require them to be shipped to warehouses in Andover, Maryland or Norfolk, Virginia before being sent to military commissaries. This model would make it difficult for regional companies like Byrne to compete for the larger accounts because they lack the capacity to meet increased volume and it would be inefficient for them to ship the products down south only for them to come back to New York. Schumer added that due to the limited shelf-life of fluid milk, the shipping distances involved in a “warehouse” model would be prohibitive for regional dairies to supply these accounts and it would risk stocking military commissaries with low-quality milk. Ultimately, the likelihood is that fluid milk accounts under the “warehouse” model would be ceded to larger, national producers closer to the physical warehouses that can absorb the increased volume and logistical costs.
Schumer said that while the “warehouse” model may work well for non-perishable products with longer shelf lives, the current “direct-store-delivery” model is more cost effective and efficient for a product like fluid milk. Not only does shipping milk long distances diminish the quality of the product, but the “direct-store-delivery” model allows smaller, regional companies to compete for DeCA accounts and supports local economies. For Byrne Dairy, the loss of these accounts would have a negative impact on its local employees and distribution networks. Moreover, the loss of this milk market would have a downstream impact on dairy farmers it purchases from, resulting in the dumping of excess milk. Under DeCA contracts, Byrne Dairy delivers over 250,000 gallons of locally sourced milk to military installations across the state each year, amounting to well over 4 million gallons supplied over the past seventeen years. Schumer urged DeCA to stick with the current model for fluid milk to support local jobs, dairy farms and to ensure our troops have the highest quality milk.
Byrne Dairy is an 85-year old fourth generation, family-owned producer and distributor of dairy products. It currently has four manufacturing facilities including a Fresh Dairy Plant and Ice Cream Plant located in Syracuse, N.Y, an Ultra High Temperature (UHT) Pasteurization Plant in East Syracuse, N.Y., and a Cultured Plant located in Cortlandville, N.Y. Each year, the company buys milk from 268 dairy farms within a 35-mile radius of its plants. They also own and operate a collection of convenience stores across Central New York.
A copy of Schumer’s letter to DeCA is below.
I write to express concern regarding a proposal by the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) to alter its current procurement and distribution model for fluid milk provided at military installations in New York State. DeCA’s proposal will have a detrimental impact on regional, local dairy producers and family farms throughout the state.
While the current model of delivering fresh fluid milk directly to military facilities has opened up an important market for regional dairy producers, I understand DeCA is considering a move to a “warehouse” style distribution model. Under the proposal, DeCA would service military facilities in New York from warehouses possibly located as far away as Maryland and Virginia. In order to service such model, producers will have to supply larger quantities and shoulder increased transportation costs, effectively making it more difficult for New York State dairy producers to compete and ceding the fluid milk business to larger, national suppliers.
In addition, due to the limited shelf-life of these types of products, a “warehouse” model does not appear to be cost effective and efficient for fluid milk. The distances involved would, again, be prohibitive for regional dairies to supply these fluid milk accounts.
Local producers have proudly served military installations with fresh dairy products for nearly two decades under contracts with DeCA. The dairy products are provided to DeCA are sourced from family farms in New York and the distribution networks support well-paying jobs throughout the state. The ‘warehouse’ proposal for fluid milk increases the likelihood that milk shipped to New York’s military installations would not be from New York producers, putting local jobs and farms at risk.
I believe a change in the sourcing model from “direct-store-delivery” to “warehouse” for fluid milk unfairly undercuts regional dairies and would move the DeCA business to a handful of larger corporations. I appreciate your consideration of this important matter. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator