Guest blogger, Selina Horst, is the 2020-2021 Franklin County Dairy Princess
Pennsylvania is ranked seventh in the nation in total milk production, with nearly 520,000 cows producing more than 10.6 billion pounds of milk annually. Our Pennsylvania dairy farmers strive to provide delicious and nutritious dairy foods for our state and the nation. Did you know that the dairy industry supports 52,000 jobs and contributes $14.7 billion to the state’s economy?
No matter what our nation faces, our dairy farmers continue to persevere. Even through the pandemic dairy farmers have continuously worked to provide for their communities. While many businesses had to shut down and many people lost their jobs, dairy farmers continued their work, caring for their cows and their land. Animal and land care is something dairy farmers take very seriously.
Early in the pandemic, with the closure of schools and restaurants created a large shift in demand, causing some dairy farmers to have to dump excess milk for a short time. This was not due to any compromised standard of milk quality, but because the large shift in demand for dairy foods.
Dairy farmers knew there was a demand for and need for dairy foods, in particular, milk. Food banks and charities were seeing higher numbers due to the pandemic. So, through working with local communities, schools, governments and dairy checkoff programs, dairy farmers were able to quickly get milk into the hands of their neighbors through milk drives and the school food lunch program. This incredible shift shows the perseverance of dairy farmers and their care for communities.
No matter what the weather, the milk price, life or the world may throw at the dairy industry, dairy farmers stand together and continue to care for their neighbors and communities. Just remember growth is not always easy, sometimes there are storms. But, no storm will last forever. Hold on! Be brave! Have faith! Every storm is temporary and we are never alone. Together, we can persevere.