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Top Story, June 2017


Milk cuts in Pa. cause unease among Garrett dairy farmers

By JONATHAN CRIBBS
Associate Editor

Dairy farmers in Garrett County, Md., are on edge after a processor in western Pennsylvania stopped taking milk from 11 farms last week due to a surplus.
Galliker’s Dairy in Johnstown said it’s been struggling with excess milk for several years. Three of those 11 farms are in Garrett County, and it’s caused concern that a drawdown in milk demand could further contract the dairy industry in western Maryland, said Billy Bishoff, president of the county Farm Bureau.
“It’s filling us with uncertainty, but this isn’t the first time that this has happened,” he said. “There’s no clarity yet that these producers will find processors for their milk here in a couple weeks.”
Galliker’s chief operating officer and senior vice president Evan Fineman says the dairy’s 85 farms have produced more milk each year even though Galliker’s is selling less. After accumulating the surplus and financial losses for several years, the dairy was forced to stop taking milk from 11 farms.
Galliker’s produces about 14.5 million gallons (54.9 million liters) of milk each year. The farm layoffs will cut that by about 2 million gallons (7.6 million liters), or 13 percent.
“The decision was a difficult one due to the long-term relationship with those producers. Galliker’s Dairy had delayed making this move for many months hoping to see an improvement in fluid milk sales that, unfortunately never materialized,” the company said in a statement. “Without a reasonable outlet for excess milk, the painful decision to release producers was made. Declining fluid milk sales is not only a local issue but a regional and national one.”
The Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board required 30 days notice to the farms so they can find other buyers.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.