Mark O’Neill, Media and Strategic Communications Director
510 S. 31st Street , Camp Hill, PA 17001 • 717.761.2740 • Email • @pfbmediaone
For Immediate Release: September 14, 2016
(Harrisburg) – The Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB) has decided to increase the Class I over-order premium price for milk by 15 cents to $1.75 per hundredweight for the four-month period beginning October 1, 2016. The decision sparked a mixed reaction from Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB), which sought a 30-cent per hundredweight increase in the premium, while milk dealers asked the board to keep the premium unchanged.
“PFB is thankful the board recognized the troublesome times dairy farmers across the state are enduring because of falling milk prices,” said PFB President Rick Ebert. “We’re disappointed the board did not fully embrace our recommendation, but the modest increase in the premium is better than no action at all. This temporary increase in premium, coupled with the continuation of the current fuel adjuster, will provide much needed, but only limited, relief to farmers producing milk in Pennsylvania.”
During testimony before PMMB earlier this month, 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, added that PFB was focused on the immediate need of dairy farmers in making the recommendation to raise the premium.
“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,” added Stoltzfus.
PMMB also decided to adjust the premium back to $1.60 per hundredweight during February and March of 2017. 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.