ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York says it's now the cream on top of the country's yogurt production.
State statistics show New York producers churned out 692 million pounds of yogurt last year to take the top spot. California was No. 2 after producing 587 million pounds.
New York yogurt plants have nearly tripled production in the last five years — the same span that saw milk production rise by 1 billion pounds to over 13 billion, making it the nation's fourth largest milk producer.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has lifted some environmental protection regulations regarding cattle waste that will allow dairy farms to produce more milk this year. Farmers will be able to milk more cows without having to build substantially larger barns. The measure was part of the results of a "yogurt summit" Cuomo held in August with yogurt manufacturers and farmers.
"These regulations will benefit farmers, the rural economy and the yogurt industry and help preserve agricultural land as open spaces, all while continuing to protect the state's water resources," said New York state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. "Duplicative regulations that made farmers go through two separate processes to reach the same end are now eliminated without sacrificing environmental protection."
The New York Farm Bureau's Dean Norton the new regulations will still allow farms to grow.
"This will allow our farms to grow responsibly, by continuing to care for our land and water while also offering milk processors, yogurt makers and consumers more of the high quality dairy products they are increasingly wanting from New York farmers," said Norton, the bureau's president.
The latest statistics were released Thursday. There was no immediate comment from California Gov. Jerry Brown.
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