Mark O’Neill, Media and Strategic Communications Director
510 S. 31st Street , Camp Hill, PA 17001 • 717.761.2740 • Email • @pfbmediaone
For Immediate Release: December 14, 2017
(Harrisburg) – The Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB) has issued a decision to reduce the Class I over-order premium price for milk from $1.60 per hundredweight to $0.75 per hundredweight for the nine-month period beginning January 1, 2018.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) recommended a more modest reduction in the over-order premium to $1 per hundredweight in an effort to combat price issues associated with an oversupply of milk in Pennsylvania and neighboring Northeast states.
“Dairy farmers continue to operate on razor thin margins, making the over-order premium an important resource to help them deal with serious financial challenges,” said PFB President Rick Ebert. “Recent decisions by the PMMB to lower the base premium and fuel premium add-on will likely cut into those margins even further in the upcoming months, especially those farmers shipping milk within Pennsylvania. Conversely, an insufficient level of reduction in premium could leave many dairy farm families vulnerable to the loss of marketing opportunities for their milk.”
During testimony before the PMMB earlier this month, Somerset County dairy farmer Glenn Stoltzfus said PFB was not excited about recommending a reduction in the premium that would cut the overall milk checks of some dairy farmers, but he said it was a balanced response to fit the needs of those who market milk and farmers who produce milk.
“Reducing the over-order premium may improve market conditions for those companies and Co-Ops that market milk in Pennsylvania. We are willing to support a reduction of the premium in hopes that it will boost the utilization of Class I milk in the Commonwealth and improve the bottom line for dairy farmers,” said Glenn Stoltzfus, who is a member of PFB’s Board of Directors and Chairman of the State Dairy Committee.
Farm Bureau noted that it understands the difficulty the PMMB faced in trying to set the premium.
“There are no simple solutions, but we were seeking the highest mandated premium level for the men and women who are milking cows across the state without hitting a level that would prompt processing plants in the state to substantially replace Pennsylvania-produced milk with milk from out-of-state farms,” added Ebert.
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.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of more than 62,000 farm and rural families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.