Senator Schumer seeks to have FDA drop proposal that prevents reusing spent grain

Senator Schumer seeks to have FDA drop proposal that prevents reusing spent grain.

Rochester distiller Jason Barrett of Black Button Distillery and John Urlbach owner and brewmaster of Rohrbach’s recently hosted Senator Chuck Schumer in a public announcement seeking to have the FDA drop a regulatory proposal that would effectively prevent brewers and distillers from reusing spent grain by giving or selling it at a low cost to local dairy farmers. This win-win practice would be prohibited or made cost-prohibitive by requiring the brewers and distillers to comply with regulations that apply to animal feed manufacturers.

In New York’s agriconomy, anything that raises the costs to agriculture related businesses is vigorously opposed. Such federal regulations fly in the face of New York’s policies to support and reduce costs of agribusiness. The State Liquor Authority just announced changes in state law to reduce the costs and increase the flexibility of farm alcohol manufacturers- those micro producers who produce artisan quality small batch alcohol products from New York agricultural products. With farming becoming a scarce national industry, efforts to provide and facilitate new revenue sources and higher value-added products can render this risk-intensive industry profitable, attracting more people to retain farming as a vocation or encourage new market entrants.

In New York, these artisan small businesses also create a tourism industry that fuels the local and state economy. Raising their operating costs will directly impact consumer prices. This negatively impacts the competitive position of craft brewers and distillers in the marketplace. There will also be a ripple effect on other upstream and downstream businesses.

I am so excited to see our own Rochester entrepreneurs take a leadership role in their industry. With so much political and economic focus on New York City, it reminds the politicians that Upstate New York is important to the State’s economy.