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How will Pennsylvania’s Dairy Development Plan affect you?How will Pennsylvania’s Dairy Development Plan affect you?

5 key points in the newly announced Dairy Development Plan to be aware of.

Chris Torres

August 23, 2018

5 Slides

At the recent Penn State Ag Progress Days, state officials unveiled the Pennsylvania Dairy Development Plan to help the dairy industry return to growth in the state.

Ag Secretary Russell Redding lauded a new dedicated fund — $5 million — from the Commonwealth Financing Authority for research projects on transitioning to organic dairy farming, value-added processing and marketing.

So, how else will the dairy development plan impact farmers? Here are the top five proposals in the plan that dairy farmers should know about:

1. Adding incentives for processors to expand or relocate to Pennsylvania. $15 million will be made available to the PA First Fund to provide incentives to processors that want to expand or relocate into Pennsylvania. It will also help fund economic development projects.

2. Bringing back flavored milk. Dairy farmers have long complained that the Obama administration’s decision to eliminate low-fat flavored milk from school lunches and breakfasts in 2012 has hurt the industry and milk’s image as a nutritious food choice. The plan calls for the creation of a “School Milk Choice” initiative to offer 1% flavored milk in anticipation of changes to federal education and nutrition policy.

3. Developing “Dairy Development Zones” to entice additional investment and economic growth in rural areas.

4. Convening a taskforce of dairy industry leaders throughout the Northeast, as well as hold on a dairy innovation summit on new opportunities for innovation and investment.

5. Speeding up regulatory processing for farm projects. The plan calls for $2.5 million in additional to the Department of Environmental Protection to fill positions and improve the permitting process and reduce backlogs.

About the Author(s)

Chris Torres

Editor, American Agriculturist

Chris Torres, editor of American Agriculturist, previously worked at Lancaster Farming, where he started in 2006 as a staff writer and later became regional editor. Torres is a seven-time winner of the Keystone Press Awards, handed out by the Pennsylvania Press Association, and he is a Pennsylvania State University graduate.

Torres says he wants American Agriculturist to be farmers' "go-to product, continuing the legacy and high standard (former American Agriculturist editor) John Vogel has set." Torres succeeds Vogel, who retired after 47 years with Farm Progress and its related publications.

"The news business is a challenging job," Torres says. "It makes you think outside your small box, and you have to formulate what the reader wants to see from the overall product. It's rewarding to see a nice product in the end."

Torres' family is based in Lebanon County, Pa. His wife grew up on a small farm in Berks County, Pa., where they raised corn, soybeans, feeder cattle and more. Torres and his wife are parents to three young boys.

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