Pilot program puts Bhutanese refugees to work on New York dairy farms

IndustriesAssociated Press

A pilot program underway in New York is putting Bhutanese refugees to work on dairy farms.

Typically, refugees who arrive in places like Buffalo and Rochester go to work in urban hotels and factories. But organizers of the Wyoming County program say many new arrivals are native farmers who would prefer to work in rural settings.

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So far, nine refugees are involved in the refugee milker program, which is a collaboration of Cornell Cooperative Extension, Community Action Angels and Alfred University.

Organizers say expanding it statewide would benefit both the refugees and New York's dairy farms, which have plenty of year-round work because of the state's booming yogurt industry.

The pilot is funded by $85,000 in grants from the Genesee Regional Market Authority.