Pennsylvania dairy farmers, a coalition of dairy leaders and sympathetic politicians are urging legislators in Harrisburg to push Congress to pass reforms that would permit whole milk to be served in schools.
A June 18 rally in the state Capitol rotunda focused on the passage of measures in Washington that would give students access to a full range of milk choices, and called for regulations prohibiting the labeling of milk alternatives as milk, according to a June 18 press release.
“The hard-working dairy farmers of this commonwealth have one goal each day, to provide nutritious, wholesome natural milk that fortifies bodies and pumps billions of dollars and thousands of jobs into Pennsylvania’s economy,” said Dave Smith, executive director of the PA Dairymen’s Association, who spearheaded the advocacy event along with other dairy leaders.
Smith highlighted dairy farming’s economic impact in Pennsylvania and the fact that current federal policies threaten those benefits, including that the dairy industry contributes nearly $15 billion annually to the state economy and is the largest sector of the state’s number one industry, agriculture, according to the release.
“Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers work hard every day to support our local economy and produce high-quality, nutritional milk,” said Rep. Keller (R-Union/Snyder). “Washington needs to work as hard as they do to make sure our farmers have the support they need to operate in a fair and transparent marketplace. I’m proud to stand with Congressman Thompson and the tens of thousands of dairy farmers across Pennsylvania to fight for our dairy industry.”
The coalition at the rally included representatives from the PA Farm Bureau, PA Dairymen’s Association, PA Milk Marketing Board, PA Dairy Princess and Promotion Program, Center for Dairy Excellence, Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, PennAg Industries Association and Future Farmers of America.