Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) commended the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB) for maintaining the Class I over-order premium price for milk at $1.60 per hundredweight and for keeping the current fuel adjuster for the six-month period beginning October 1, 2015.
“We believe the board correctly evaluated all the testimony and evidence presented by stakeholders in making the decision to maintain the existing premium price for milk,” said PFB President Rick Ebert. “We will continue to monitor falling milk prices, which are putting a major strain on the profit margins of dairy farmers.”
During testimony before PMMB earlier this month, Farm Bureau noted that dairy farmers are facing declining milk prices, increased costs from purchased feeds and fuel, and an uncertain crop harvest due to a wet summer.
“The current milk prices have been a shot of reality. Although feed costs have inched down, the price of milk has dropped much more quickly. All of a sudden, we’re barely breaking even,” said Somerset County dairy farmer Glenn Stoltzfus, who testified on behalf of PFB and is chairman of the farm organization’s state dairy committee.
Stoltzfus, who operates Pennwood Farms in Somerset County in partnership with his three brothers, is concerned about the overall quality of the crops he grows to feed his dairy cows.
“Prior to harvest, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the quality of our crops, ranging from very good to very poor. We are worried our corn and hay will not be enough to meet the nutrition needs of our dairy cows, forcing us to buy additional feed, which will eat further into our profit margins,” added Stoltzfus. “The level of premium actually received by dairy farmers is vitally important to the financial stability of Pennsylvania’s dairy farms.”
The over-order premium and the fuel adjuster add-on mandated by PMMB are assessed on Class I (fluid) milk that is produced, processed and sold entirely within Pennsylvania, which is the fifth largest dairy producing state in the nation.