A new plan for supplying food to New York military installations would block Syracuse-based Byrne Dairy and other local dairy producers from selling to the federal government, according to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.
Schumer, D-NY, visited Byrne Dairy’s Ultra Dairy plant in East Syracuse on Friday to announce his opposition to the proposal by the Defense Commissary Agency, or DeCA, which supplies groceries on military posts worldwide.
The agency’s plan to switch its distribution system to centralized warehouses would prevent Byrne Dairy and other local suppliers from serving New York military bases, Schumer said.
Byrne Dairy has been supplying milk and other dairy products directly to Fort Drum near Watertown, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and other military commissaries for the past 17 years.
The federal government encouraged the use of local suppliers to deliver farm-fresh milk to soldiers. But the new proposal would require dairies bidding on federal contracts to ship larger, bulk quantities of milk to central warehouses in Maryland and Virginia. From there, the dairy products would be distributed to military posts in New York.
Schumer said the proposal would set up an inefficient distribution model that could affect the quality of milk sent to military personnel. He said the change would also take an economic toll on smaller, local dairy producers like Byrne Dairy, who would likely lose contracts to larger, national suppliers.