PA dairy farmers fighting for their livlihoods

Pennsylvania farms that produce dairy products have been one of the crown jewels of the state’s agriculture industry.  Pennsylvania has the second most dairy farms in the country — about 16% of the entire nation’s dairy farms.  That’s even though the state has lost about 800 dairy farms since 2010.

Pennsylvania dairy farmers are facing challenges on several fronts right now that is making it difficult to succeed.  There’s a glut of milk on the market while consumers are drinking less milk and are turning to alternatives to milk like soy, coconut or almond beverages — some of which refer to themselves as milk but as dairy farmers vehemently point out — isn’t milk.

Adding to the headaches for last month is the cancellation of contracts between milk distributors and dozens of dairy farms. Retaliation for tariffs placed on aluminum and steel imports by the Trump Administration may also have an impact on dairy farmers if other countries retaliate with tariffs of their own.

June is National Dairy Month and the dairy industry is encouraging the state’s consumers to buy Pennsylvania dairy products.

On Tuesday’s Smart Talk, we look at Pennsylvania’s dairy industry.

Appearing on the program are David Smith, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, Jayne Sebright, Executive Director at the Center for Dairy Excellence and Lolly Lesher, Way-Har Farms near Bernville in Berks County.