Save Our Local Dairy Farms
You might see some of our "Drink Milk" and "Save our Local Dairy Farms" signs around the county and we want to help you understand why...
The state of Pennsylvania agriculture
An anecdotal trend we’ve seen within our county and our state is that off-farm income from one or more family members is the new normal and families that are supported entirely by a farming income are increasingly rare. While this trend has been apparent for years, many of us haven’t wanted to fully acknowledge it as it reveals some deeply disturbing trends in agriculture that have been escalating for several decades.
When we look to the data from the USDA Census of Agriculture of 2012, the concerns become more real:
More specifically, the USDA ERS Farm Income Team additionally reports in 2018 that net farm income is at a disturbing new low at $900m less than in 2008. As one of our CCFB Directors recently stated it: “As a farmer, you’re really barely surviving a third world existence trying to live and sell in a first world economy.” With multiple generations now separated from the source of their food and efficiencies in agricultural technology advancing at an exhausting but also exciting pace, the challenge of educating consumers about the source of their food, the state of our farms and the importance of farming lifestyles is increasingly difficult. That’s why we at CCFB we are taking a step back to assess the role we play in engaging our local community on farming related issues and urging greater engagement and advocacy at the local level.
Dairy: An industry in crisis
Among those hardest hit right here in our own back yard are our fellow dairy farmers, who in 2018 are facing difficulties like they have never seen before. Due to a variety of factors, which are debated on a near constant basis, fluid milk consumption is down. Among those factors include:
Bruce McPheron, the former Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State once said “Every time you open your fridge, you are shaking hands with a farmer.” With so many generations removed from the family farm, the general public understands this statement less and less. No matter your eating preferences, it is important for all consumers to understand the role that agriculture plays in our lives.
Dairy plays a pivotal role in our economy. From on and off farm labor, to veterinarians, to manure haulers, to feed stores, to crop growers, to meat processors - many other businesses depend on the size and health of our local dairy operations. When dairy is hurting, we are all hurting.
What can you do
While the writing is on the wall that dairy will need to change to survive and knowing that in time, however slowly, change will come – there are immediate measures you can take to help keep milk dollars at home. Download this document or click the action alert at the top of this page to learn more. Share this with whomever you like - friends, school administrators, etc. Your help is greatly appreciated!