New York State Beverage



Adopted in 1981.

Milk was designated the official state beverage of New York in 1981. New York is a leader in dairy production (ranks 3rd in the USA for the amount of milk produced). Agriculture is the backbone of Upstate New York economy, with dairy farming being the largest component

The dairy industry is the largest single segment of the State's agricultural industry. New York is the country's third leading producer of dairy products, behind California and Wisconsin. Dairy and dairy animal production in New York generates more than half of the State's agricultural income.

The industry is concentrated in several rural counties of upstate New York: St. Lawrence, Yates, Lewis, and Steuben counties have the largest number of dairy farms, and Wyoming County is the State's leading producer of dairy products.

Did you know that: Milk has been proclaimed the official state beverage or drink in each of the following states:

State Symbol: Milk

Arkansas | Delaware | Louisiana | Minnesota | Mississippi | Nebraska
New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Oregon | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Vermont | Virginia | Wisconsin

New York State Beverage: "Milk"


Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many diseases in the baby. It also contains many other nutrients.

New York's dairy farms are a vital part of the State economy. In 2007, New York's dairy farms generated $2.3 billion in revenue, supporting more than 20,000 farmers and employees as well as many local businesses that supply or provide services to dairy farms. Like most small businesses, dairy farms have been hit particularly hard in this recession, largely as a result of low milk prices.

Most farms in New York State are family-owner operated. In 2007, New York State had 5,683 dairy farms, each earning an average gross income of about $408,000.1 But the long-term trend has been toward fewer, larger farms: in the years from 1998 to 2007, the number of dairy farms in the State plummeted 27 percent. The number of dairy farmers has dropped as dramatically, with the State losing half of its dairy farmers in the last 20 years.

The decline of small family farms in the State negatively impacts the local economies in which these farms are located, and also changes the rural character and quantity of open space in upstate New York.

Where milk comes from and how it's made.

Ever wonder where delicious milk comes from? It all starts with healthy, well-fed cows that live on farms all around America the beautiful.

  • All cows are females (males are called bulls).
  • A cow makes milk after she has a calf. The mother cow makes a very special milk for her calf; it is called colostrum. Colostrum has extra vitamins and protein and is very good for the calf.
  • Cows drink 30 to 40 gallons of water each day.
  • Cows provide 90% of the world's milk supply.
  • A cow's udder can hold 25-50 pounds of milk at a time - no wonder she's so eager to be milked - and a cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.

Can You Say, "I'm Full?"
Cows are BIG eaters. Did you know that cows have four stomachs and eat 90 pounds of food a day? That's probably more than you weigh! A cow that chows on only grass can make 50 glasses of milk a day. But one that eats grass, corn and hay can make 100 glasses of milk a day!

Milk has a long and rich history. For example, did you know?

  1. Sanskrit records mentioned milk 6,000 years ago.
  2. The Bible describes the Promised Land as Aa land flowing with milk and honey."
  3. The Greek physician Hippocrates recommended milk as a medicine some 2,300 years ago.
  4. Christopher Columbus brought cattle to the New World on his second voyage.
  5. It has been said that one reason for the high death rate among those who traveled to the New World on the Mayflower was that they had no fresh milk to drink.
  6. Cows were brought from Europe to the Jamestown colony in 1611 and to the Plymouth colony in 1624.
  7. Cheese was an important item in the diet of the Vikings, who from about the 8th to the 10th century sailed the seas on long voyages.
  8. Cheese was an article of commerce in ancient Rome. Monks developed the art of cheese making in Europe in the Middle Ages.

New York Law

The law designating milk as the official New York state beverage is found in the New York State Consolidated Laws, STL, Article 6, Section 82.

STL - State
Article 6 - (70 - 88) ARMS AND GREAT SEAL OF STATE
82 - State beverage.

Universal Citation: NY State L § 82 (2012)

§ 82. State beverage. Milk shall be the official beverage of the state
of New York.

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