Dairy Dilemma: Dairy Farmers Battle Prices, Development

US - The farmer's milk check is nearly double what it was four years ago. It's welcome cash, long overdue.
calendar icon 25 June 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
Dairy comprises a good chunk of Franklin County’s economy

"All dairy farmers in Pennsylvania struggled in 2006 to try to make it through the year and finally are seeing some relief with high milk prices in the summer," Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said.

"Milk prices have got to stay up for quite awhile to save the dairyman," said Titus Martin, a Fayetteville dairy farmer. "(The year) 2006 was the most devastating year of dairy I've ever had. There was no profit. It seemed everything we touched increased and everything we sold decreased. I increased my line of credit by $100,000, and I still have outstanding bills. I'm going to need at least a year and a half of these prices to make up for what we lost last year."

Dairy comprises a good chunk of Franklin County's economy and its landscape. Both are changing.

A good portion of the county's open space -- cornfields and hayfields -- feed local dairy cows. Franklin County, Pennsylvania's No. 2 dairy producer behind Lancaster County, has lost about eight commercial dairy farms each year since 1998, according to Pennsylvania Agricultural Statistics.

Agriculture is the largest industry in the county, and dairy is the top ag industry.

Source: Chambersburg Public Opinion

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