(Laceyville, PA) Farm Women United (FWU), a grassroots association of farm women concerned with public farm and food policy, announced today that a lengthy letter, addressing the severe and worsening economic emergency that is devastating dairy farmers, farm suppliers, and rural communities across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was faxed and mailed to Governor Tom Wolf, in Harrisburg.
FWU is pressing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to support the effort recommended by Progressive Agriculture Organization to force Congress to implement an intervention with a $20-per hundredweight (cwt.) Emergency Floor Price to be placed under milk used for manufacturing to stop the ongoing, accelerating, and unprecedented total collapse of the state's dairy farming communities due to what amounts to blatant anti-dairy-farmer federal policies. The Emergency Floor price would stay in place for the period of time that it takes to call special federal hearings to investigate the real reasons for these criminally low milk prices and to draft permanent solutions that are beneficial to Pennsylvania's dairy farmers and rural businesses.
FWU asserts that to ensure stable local farms, healthy agricultural communities, and a wholesome local food supply in the Commonwealth's own backyard, it is Pennsylvania's responsibility to step up and speak out against the federalism inherent in current dairy policy coming out of Washington, DC, that is assaulting and directly harming an integral part of our state's local rural economy.
“No longer should Pennsylvania dairy farmers be the victims of the failed federal dairy policies that have plunged us into the present dire crisis that threatens virtually every dairy farmer in the Commonwealth. I encourage Governor Wolf to acknowledge the huge negative impact low federal milk prices are having on our state's entire dairy farming infrastructure. Pennsylvania's local rural economy lost $2.5 billion in 2016 alone because of the flawed federal minimum milk pricing formula. Losses like these are devastating our state. To correct this inequity, Pennsylvania dairy farmers need the state to stand with us against a federal government that refuses to allow farmers a way to cover what it costs us to produce milk on our farms. Our own federal government is denying us what all other American businesses count on to succeed: a way to cover what it costs us to produce our milk” stated Barb Troester, FWU Board Member and dairy farmer from Union County, PA.
Pennsylvania's dairy farmers are desperate for relief from the low milk prices that have created de-facto sweat-shop working conditions on the state's dairy farms, so a timely response has been requested from Governor Wolf to support the $20/cwt. Emergency Floor Price initiative in order to give dairy farmers hope that Pennsylvania will not sit on the sidelines of this humanitarian disaster and allow one more day to pass without lending the full support of the Commonwealth to bring a just resolution to this crisis.