HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) held the inaugural meeting of the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission. The commission, the result of Act 66, signed by the Governor in July and prime sponsored by Senator Jake Corman, is responsible for reviewing the status of Pennsylvania’s dairy industry and making recommendations to support its future.
“Pennsylvania’s dairy industry is a vital part of our heritage and our future,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “There are so many pieces to the puzzle that is Pennsylvania dairy; there are complicated questions and complicated answers. That’s what we’ve tasked this commission to address.”
The 23-member commission will be chaired by Brett Reinford, appointed at today’s meeting. The commission is made up of public and private sector members including Secretary Russell Redding; representatives from the state departments of Community and Economic Development, Revenue, Transportation, and Environmental Protection; Senators Elder Vogel and Judy Schwank, chairs of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee; Representatives Martin Causer and Eddie Day Pashinski, chairs of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee; Senator Judy Ward; Representative Johnathan Hershey; Jayne Sebright, Center for Dairy Excellence; Carol Hardbarger, Milk Marketing Board; David Swartz, Penn State; Glenn Stoltzfus, PA Farm Bureau; Mary Kandray Gelesner, Center for Rural PA; Dina Zug, PA State Grange; Brett Reinford, Reinford Farms; Gary Truckenmiller, Dry Run Dairy; Carissa Itle Westwick, Vale Wood Farms; Erick Coolidge, Le-Ma-Re Farm; and Steve Turner, Turners Dairy.
The commission is charged with reviewing and making recommendations to promote and strengthen Pennsylvania’s dairy industry in the following areas:
- Processing, production, and marketing,
- Current issues facing the industry,
- Statutory, regulatory, and local government impacts on the industry, and
- Other aspects of Pennsylvania’s dairy industry as identified by the commission.
“This Commission will take a comprehensive look at the industry and the implementation of this wide-ranging plan that will protect our heritage and an industry that is an important contributor to our economy,” Senator Jake Corman said. “I look forward to the Commission’s work to identify how the dairy industry can be promoted supported and strengthened in Pennsylvania. This builds on our longstanding tradition of providing farmers with the tools they need to run their businesses successfully.”
In addition to the Dairy Future Commission, earlier this summer Governor Tom Wolf signed the Pennsylvania Farm Bill which included a new round of $5 million in grant funding for Pennsylvania’s Dairy Investment Program to further support the state’s dairy industry. This grant program supports on-farm innovation through research and development, organic transition, and value-added processing of products like cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.
“People in the industry want to know what their future holds,” added Redding, “the commission will be fueled by that question. We hope to provide nourishment to the industry that nourishes Pennsylvania and beyond.”
–Shannon Powers, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture