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For Immediate Release: September 7, 2016

 

(Harrisburg) – Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) asked the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB) to increase the Class I over-order premium price for milk by 30 cents to $1.90 per hundredweight and to maintain the current fuel adjuster for the six-month period beginning October 1, 2016.


    During testimony before the PMMB, Farm Bureau noted that the trend of declining milk prices has put a major strain on Pennsylvania dairy farmers, who are facing extremely difficult conditions on the farm.


     “Prices and incomes for dairy farmers are well below what we received during the high period of milk prices in 2014 and early 2015.  Many farmers are concerned that the financial harm from the recent downturn in price will be worse than what they experienced during the severe economic decline in 2009,” said Somerset County dairy farmer Glenn Stoltzfus, who is a member of PFB’s State Board of Directors and chairman of its state Dairy Committee.  


      Stoltzfus, who operates Pennwood Farms in partnership with three of his brothers, said the decision by PFB’s state dairy committee to recommend raising the over-order premium was not made lightly.


     “The current conditions on dairy farms have been described as difficult by some and dire by other milk producers, who are counting on the PMMB to take action to help them survive this extended period of low milk prices paid to dairy farmers,” added Stoltzfus.


     Meanwhile, there are few economic signs pointing toward a needed recovery in prices for dairy farmers anytime soon.      


     “Prices paid to dairy farmers dropped substantially from 2014 to 2015, and without a major run up in prices this fall (which is not expected), 2016 prices could be as much as $2 per hundredweight lower than 2015 prices,” said Mike Evanish, manager of MSC Business Services, which is an affiliate company of PFB that provides an array of financial services helping farmers manage their farm operations.  “The only sure thing is that the price farmers are receiving for milk does not support current costs of production.”


     The over-order premium and the fuel adjuster add-on mandated by PMMB are assessed on Class I (fluid) milk that is produced, processed and sold entirely within Pennsylvania.


Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of nearly 62,000 farm and rural families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.
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