Market at the Park, Waynesboro’s farmers market, will recognize dairy farmers’ contributions and struggles Saturday with special events.
Speakers about the dairy industry will be coupled with giveaways, an ice cream-eating contest and a milk-chugging contest. The farmers market is held every Saturday from 8 to 11:30 a.m.
“I think it’s horrible what is happening with the pinch and squeeze hardworking dairy farmers are getting in,” said Bill Kohler, economic-development director of Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc.
Biser Farms sells artisan cheeses at the farmers market in the first block of Waynesboro’s East Main Street.
Tammy Biser, who owns the business with her husband, Steven, said they are like other dairy farmers affected by decreased prices for liquid milk, banks declining to lend to farmers, processing plants closing and a surplus in national milk inventory.
“We stepped outside the box several years ago and added value (with) cheese. If we had to rely on milk prices through our cooperative … we’d be out of business,” Tammy Biser said.
“Save Our Dairy Farms” day at Market at the Park is designed to educate the public. The market typically draws more than 500 people per week.
“The No. 1 thing they can do is consume more milk,” Tammy Biser said.
“Part of our mission is to educate people, help them eat healthier and help farmers,” Kohler said, noting he hopes the event helps people consider how milk gets from the cow to their refrigerators.
Biser said the problems facing dairy farmers reach into the agricultural supply chain, negatively affecting feed manufacturers, equipment suppliers and veterinary practices.
She said every dollar a farmer generates balloons to $7 in the economy, due to the supply chain.
The Biser family knows dairymen and dairywomen who have sold their herds.
“I’ve had farmers right on my road — we talk, we get calls about, ‘What are we going to do?'” Biser said. “We don’t know the end solution.”
By: Jennifer Fitch
Source: Herald-Mail Media