Having grown up in a farm family and as a farmer myself, I have admiration for all who toil the soil and care for animals. Amongst us though, I place dairy farmers at the top of my admiration heap. Dairy farmers work harder, longer, and with a level of personal and family commitment pretty much unmatched, whether in agriculture or other sectors of the economy. Despite their deep level of commitment, dairy farmers continue to struggle, as they have for years now. The price of production of milk continues to not match what dairy farmers receive in payment for the milk. Only recently has it started rebounding, and then … Coronavirus.
When the pandemic hit, suddenly schools and restaurants were closed. Milk intended for those destinations piled up, as it could not be redirected to grocery stores easily or quickly. In some situations, it had to be “dumped”, disposed of. Our dairy farmers who work so hard, yes, they had to watch their efforts go down the drain. Revenues from dairy production approach nearly half of agricultural receipts in Centre County. Other agribusinesses supply feed, fuel, and parts to our dairy farmers. Trucking companies haul milk. Processing facilities process cull cattle. Entire farms are built on raising feeder calves. Dairy farms employ workers, they pay school taxes. We live in one interconnected system of agriculture. We are all in it together. With dairy farmers, so go the rest of us farmers.
Where are we now in the dairy business? What challenges do we face in the future? What changes might be possible to markets, regulations, and perceptions?
Who can we talk to?
Our guest during this month’s Centre County Virtual Member Forum is Dr. Robert Cloninger of Centre Herd Health Services (CHHS). Dr. Cloninger, founder and owner of CHHS, has been in practice since 1981. He earned his BS at The Pennsylvania State University and his VMD at the University of Pennsylvania. CHHS is a multi-doctor veterinary practice which provides quality care & products for food animals in Central Pennsylvania.
Dr. Cloninger, or “Dr. Bob”, has been on the front lines through all the ups and downs of the dairy business. Dr. Bob has been hard at work during the pandemic too, working with dairy farmers to help them adjust to this most recent unforeseen salvo of marketplace change.
Join us Wednesday evening (6/17) at 7:30 PM as we hear Dr. Bob’s perspective on the dairy business in Centre County.
Call and dial in information at: http://www.centrecfb.org/covid-19.html