On The Farm
The success of our cooperative begins with the passion and dedication of our farmer-owners to work hard every single day to produce the highest-quality milk. As we like to say, milk is our life’s work!
Quality & Food Safety
Upstate Niagara Cooperative is committed to providing consumers with dairy product choices to fit their tastes and dietary preferences. We also provide important information to help make these choices. Milk is one of the most closely monitored and regulated food industries and Upstate Niagara goes above and beyond to ensure you receive the freshest, best-tasting milk. That means we check our milk every step of the way. Milk receivers and laboratory staff are licensed to perform critical analysis on each load of milk upon arrival to our plants. Our quality testing is carefully maintained from the moment the milk leaves the farm until it shows up on the shelf of your favorite store.
At Upstate Niagara Cooperative, we treat our cows no different than we treat the rest of our family members. As dairy farmers, our commitment to providing high-quality milk begins with taking good care of our cows, providing a nutritious diet and good medical care, and ensuring healthy living conditions.
Sometimes it’s necessary for farmers to treat cows with antibiotics when they are ill, just as people sometimes need medication when they are sick. Milk from a cow being treated with antibiotics is separated to ensure it does not go into the milk supply. All milk is tested for the most commonly used antibiotics upon delivery to the dairy plant. Any milk that tests positive cannot be sold to the public.
Upstate Niagara has a full-time staff of animal well-being specialists. Each is certified in the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program. FARM is a nationwide, third party verifiable animal well-being program that brings consistency and uniformity to on-farm animal care and production practices.
Sustainability & Environmental Resources
Upstate Niagara Cooperative is committed to sustainable farming methods and practices. We have been at the forefront of sustainability issues even before we were nominated as a charter member of the Dairy Management Incorporated (DMI) Carbon Council. Many of our farms are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprints. They reduce energy output such as electricity, natural gas and water intensity as well as solid waste production.
Our farmer-owners are committed to being good stewards of the land. Many have been recognized by local authorities for their efforts.
Just because we’ve made great strides in the past does not mean our family-owned farms rest on their laurels when it comes to improving green farming practices and reducing costly waste. We’re continuously looking forward to new, innovative practices and setting goals for ourselves. Our cooperative supports the Innovation Center for US Dairy Sustainability initiative of a 25% reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2020.
At Our Facilities
Your family’s health is our top priority. That’s why we have established and implemented programs in our facilities that exceed the industry standards for food processing and packaging.
SQF Level 3 Certification
Upstate Niagara Cooperative has comprehensive, internal food safety and quality programs that are certified to SQF Level 3 in compliance with the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). We perform regular control audits, participate in GMP training and HACCP programs, and have regulatory audits conducted by the FDA, New York State Agriculture and Markets and Randolph Associates. That’s not to mention the rigorous testing we perform at every step of the manufacturing process.
Each of our facilities has occupational and safety programs to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. Employees receive regular training and education sessions, and the infrastructure and equipment found at all of our processing and packaging facilities are thoroughly tested and maintained. We also perform annual audits of workplace safety regulations and building codes, which help us identify means of reducing or eliminating risks to personnel, property and products.
Control & Compliance
Below is a chart detailing the agencies and objectives of our audits at Upstate Niagara Cooperative.
|Auditing Agency||Purpose of Audit|
|Plant Quality Control||Compliance with Quality Management System|
|NYS Ag & Markets||Compliance with PMO, GMPs|
|Randolph Associates||Compliance with GMPs, HACCP, SQF|
|Upstate Niagara Corporate Quality Assurance||Compliance with Quality Management System and Specific Initiatives|
|Insurance Carrier||Workplace safety, Building codes|
|NYS Ag & Markets||IMS Certification|
|FDA||Compliance with food laws, IMS Cert.|
Not only does Upstate Niagara Cooperative lead the way in innovative farming practices, but our packaging, QA and research methods are continuously being improved as well.
Upstate Niagara produces great-tasting yogurt with the longest lasting shelf life in the United States, which provides significant benefits to our customers.
Our innovative yogurt pump dispensing system, specifically designed for our Upstate Farms 5lb yogurt line, makes for quick, clean, easy and cost-effective preparation of yogurt parfaits.
Our Lowfat All-Natural Vanilla Yogurt was awarded Innovative Cultured Product of the Year by the International Dairy Foods Association and scored a perfect 100 at the World Dairy Expo. Upstate Niagara provides this outstanding, nutritious yogurt to a variety of industries, businesses and schools.
In schools, we provide yogurt that kids enjoy and parents feel good about as we were one of the first dairies to remove artificial coloring and flavoring, and high fructose corn syrup from our yogurt, a practice other leading national brands have since followed.
Upstate Niagara was one of the first dairies to package milk in single-serve bottles. Ever since then, we’ve been researching new and innovative ways to provide your family with the truest and most delicious-tasting dairy.
Upstate Niagara also introduced light block bottles. We recognized that UV light had damaging effects on milk, and made a transition to bottles that blocked harmful UV rays to protect our quality products.
In an effort to meet increasing consumer need and continuously improve the quality of our milk, we removed high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors from our nonfat and lowfat chocolate milk.
We take enormous pride in our long history of winning product awards at state, national and international dairy product competitions. We are equally as proud to be recognized by our customers with service and quality awards. Our most recent awards include: