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A look at Pennsylvania’s struggling dairy industry

In today’s Short Takes, you’ll find a condensed view of the 130-page study of Pennsylvania’s struggling dairy industry.

Hats off to State Sen. Judy Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat, who was the impetus for the study, which makes several recommendations; namely, to start regulating the plant-based “milks” as a class five milk product. You know the ones with colorful labels that occupy shelf space at the grocery store alongside real milk. The increase in veganism is undoubtedly behind the growth of plant-based drinks. The trouble is, those drinks don’t have to comply with product identity requirements, the report said. Changing the class would give the federal government some oversight of the plant-based drinks, and the study goes so far as to suggest requiring a premium fee for these products.

In a Sept. 27 Reading Eagle story, dairy farmer Lolly Lesher suggests an easy way to help dairy farmers — buy an extra gallon of milk each week. I would suggest also checking the label on that milk, to make sure it comes from a Pennsylvania farmer. Better yet, buy your dairy products directly from the farmer. Berks Dairy Day on Saturday is a good way to visit six local dairy producers. For details, search “First Annual Berks Dairy Day” on Facebook.


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