Does Pennsylvania have too much milk?
The Center for Dairy Excellence says it does. It says the state’s milk supply is growing faster than demand.
Dairy farmers across the state are trying to weather the storm, but Melanie Stamy, whose farm has been in her family since the 1800’s, says this year has been tougher than normal.
“We have to sell a certain amount of milk to cover our costs. We are able to sell that milk, but we’re not able to get the price that we need to cover our bills,” Stamy said. “This slump has been going on for way too long. We need some sort of solution or else farms like ours will start disappearing.”
Dairy farmers get paid per pounds of milk, and this year they’re at a loss of $3 per 100 pounds.
The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau says cultural trends toward other milk varieties, like soy and almond, are one of many factors contributing to the overall problem.
“Prices have been depressed for a three-year period. It hasn’t been a good year since, well, years ago, and that’s obviously a major struggle for farmers,” said Mark O’Neill a spokesman for the farm bureau. “They have no control over the amount of money they get paid for their product. They get paid different amounts of money whether the milk is used for milk, butter, ice cream. So, it’s extremely challenging times right now for dairy farmers.”
Farmers across the state have alerted the state’s agricultural groups about the problem. Many say they will have to sell off their dairy cows.
The Department of Agriculture says it has a proposal in mind to build a milk processing plant close to the Midstate, which would cut down on the cost of out-of-state pasteurization. So far, there are no definitive plans to build it.