The nationwide dairy farm crisis continues, and it’s impacting farms in Northeast Pennsylvania, too.
It’s costing farmers more to produce milk, but some say it’s been sold at the same rate for decades, forcing 90 percent of dairy farms in the U.S. to shut down.
Two major dairy producers, Dean Foods and Borden Dairy Company have even filed for bankruptcy.
Over at the Manning Farm in Dalton, Lackawanna County, business has been good on its 150-acre farm, but that’s not the case for other farms in NEPA, because production costs are up and customer prices aren’t.
“It makes it very difficult for your average farmer to be able to produce his own milk and make any profit whatsoever,” dairy processor Ken Manning said.
Producing milk for 100 years, the Manning Farm has a way of keeping business afloat- making and selling ice cream.
Milk sales might be down- but ice cream cones and cups are helping business- something other farms could benefit from.
“Ice cream sales have been pretty good,” Manning said. “That thankfully is what keeps us afloat. I don’t think we’d survive on milk alone, so the ice cream is a big focus for us.”
“We’re one of the bigger farms around here, bigger small businesses around here. and we’re doing pretty well,” Tela Fotta said. “But there’s some smaller ones that aren’t doing so well and I really think something needs to be done to help them.”
But as Manning explained, farms face competition from almond, soy and coconut milk.
“That to me is the number one reason why you’ve seen that percentage decrease in fluid milk consumption,” Manning said. “I think the dairy industry as a whole needs to do a better job of advertising the health benefits of milk.”