Relief for dairy farmers in the region could be coming.
State Rep. Michele Brooks announced Monday that the Center for Dairy Excellence has a potential lead on a milk buyer who may be interested in taking additional milk from dairy farmers in western Pennsylvania.
Earlier this year, Dean Foods announced it would not be renewing raw milk contracts with 16 dairy farmers in the western portion of the state due to cost-cutting practices.
Dairy farmers in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee were affected by the decision, which came on the heels of Wal-Mart’s construction of a 25,000-square foot milk processing plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Ginger Fenton, who works with local dairy farmers through Penn State Extension, told The News in March that “fluid milk consumption is down” and is one of the factors that went into Deans Foods’ decision.
State Rep. Chris Sainato said dairy farmers work hard and are in a difficult situation.
“That would be great if they have a potential buyer for milk,” Sainato said. “With the market conditions and everything else going on, dairy farmers are in a difficult position. I know the secretary of agriculture has asked Dean’s Foods to keep contracts with dairy farmers to the end of the year to give them a chance to find a buyer.
“Any potential buyer would be great. Dairy farmers are in a very difficult situation. They work hard and the demand for milk is down, and they lost their contracts.”
Brooks announced the buyer is asking dairy farmers to work through the Center for Dairy Excellence, who will then contact the processing facility.
“We will continue to explore every possible solution but wanted to at least get this information to our dairy farmers impacted by the Dean’s Dairy announcement,” Brooks said in a press release.
“I understand the terrible impact that Walmart’s decision to build a processing plant in the state of Indiana has had on local dairy farmers,” Brooks said. “It’s my hope that the following information assists our farmers and leads to some solution to help offset the concern generated by the recent announcement from Dean’s Dairy.”
By: Brent Addleman
Source: New Castle News