2011-06-16 / Local & State

Farm Bureau Celebrates Dairy Month

June is National Dairy Month and there’s certainly no better time to enjoy a few scoops of ice cream or a refreshing glass of milk. And while we all know how delicious celebrating National dairy Month can be, it’s also important that we take time to reflect on where dairy farming stands today.

Agriculture is the leading industry in Pennsylvania, and dairy is one of its fundamental economic drivers. It producers more than 40 percent of the commonwealth’s agricultural receipts and creates more than 40,000 jobs throughout the state. There is approximately one dairy cow for every 23 Pennsylvanians.

Additionally, studies show the average dairy farm spends around 85 percent of its income locally, strengthening their communities and surrounding areas. More than $7 billion annually are generated into the state’s economy from dairy production and associated businesses.

In the recent years, dairy farmers have been struggling through one of the worst periods ever of low milk prices.The economic downturn n 2009 and early 2010 threatened the entire industry’s future throughout the state and nation. Some farmers who were facing debt before the economic downturn were forced out of business.

Many farmers who survived are still facing large debts, and it is unlikely they will entirely recover this year. Although milk prices are continuing to rebound, production costs are also rising because of higher feed and energy prices.

So as our dairy industry is celebrated during National Dairy Month, dairy farmers will appreciate the concern of Pennsylvanians about their industry’s future and consumption of what they produce.

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