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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Schumer: New regs would hurt brewers

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  • HORSEHEADS | U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., made a stop at Upstate Brewing in Horseheads on Friday, calling on the FDA to halt plans to implement new regulations the senator says would hurt both craft brewers and farmers.
    For many decades, Schumer explained, there’s been a symbiotic relationship between brewers and farmers.
    Brewers need a way to dispose of the spent grains, also called wet grains, that are left over from the brewing process. So they give them to local farmers, who haul them away and use them to feed their livestock.
    The arrangement saves on feed costs for farmers, and disposal costs for brewers.
    But the FDA is poised to implement “unnecessary and burdensome” new regulations on animal feed sometime in the next month, part of the sweeping Food Safety Modernization Act, Schumer said.
    The new rules would require small brewers to store and monitor spent grain, perform a hazard analysis and develop a written recall plan, as if they were large-scale commercial feed producers.
    There’s no reason for it, Schumer says.
    “There’s not one bit of evidence that spent grains present a risk to our farm animals, and there is certainly no evidence that it’s hurt a single human being. So then why is the FDA doing this? No one knows,” Schumer said. “They can’t give us a good answer. It’s bureaucracy run amok.”
    What would likely happen, he added, is that brewers would simply dump the spent grains in landfills.
    “In the first quarter of this year alone, we brewed with over 10,000 pounds of grain,” said Upstate Brewing co-owner Mark Neumann. “If this legislation was enacted, all 10,000 pounds would’ve probably ended up in the Chemung County Landfill, which doesn’t make any sense.”
    Neumann and co-owner Ken Mortensen give their spent grains to Tom Giles, owner of Maple Valley Farms in Lowman, who trucks it away for them.
    The wet grains hydrate his cattle and hogs, and are full of nutrients, Giles said.
    “They wolf it down,” said Giles, who has a farm stand on County Route 64 in Big Flats, near Consumer Square. “It makes for a very nice quality meat.”
    Schumer has written a letter to the FDA and says he’ll be calling Commissioner Margaret Hamburg on the issue.
    Friday was Schumer’s second visit to a local microbrewery in the past six months. He visited Rooster Fish Brewing in Watkins Glen in early December to tout federal legislation he’s co-sponsoring called the Small BREW Act, which would cut excise taxes on small breweries to encourage expansion.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Small BREW Act is still pending, and is expected to be considered as part of a larger tax reform package in Congress.
    New York, which now has roughly 70 small breweries, ranks fifth in the U.S. in craft beer production and is tops on the East Coast, Schumer said.

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