Dairy industry facing continued uncertainty
CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WJAC) — The problems the dairy industry is now facing are well documented, with no easy solutions in sight. Much of the turmoil is due to a farming economic market that's being heavily impacted by changes in consumers' choices. That includes one long-talked-about project in Centre County.
Penn State's Agricultural Science complex had a special visitor this week --- U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, who visited The Creamery for some of its world-famous ice cream.
Federal funding is vital in boosting university research aimed at helping farmers and the agricultural industry.
It’s the number one industry in the state, despite the uncertainty facing dairy farmers.
“There’s legislation now in congress we need to get it passed, and I’m sure the President will support it, and that’s the Healthy Milk for Healthy Kids getting whole milk into schools or at least 2 percent milk but hopefully whole milk into schools,” said Keller.
In recent years, many dairy farmers have struggled to break even in selling their products. That's because consumers have turned to other options in milk consumption.
A few years ago, a statewide study identified Centre County as one possible area for a regional dairy processing and distribution center. The idea was envisioned as a boost for nearby farmers, but now those plans have been dropped.
“At the state level there was one company that expressed an interest, but I think their interest was not just Pennsylvania, it was mid-Atlantic, and I think they’re leaning toward a different state,” said Centre County Commissioner Mark Higgins.
A number of other factors, including international tariffs, are impacting the dairy markets, although in recent months, there has been a bit of an increase in milk prices.