Central Pennsylvania Television Station CBS 21 News interviewed DPAC Board member Rob Barley of Star Rock Farms, Lancaster County today in their nightly news segment: "Local farmers try to bounce back after 'devastating' year." Today's news segment ran in response to Monday's Wall Street Journal story about the "Farm Belt bouncing back," which focused on corn, soybean and cotton prices spurring a boom in the Farm Belt despite a struggling national economy.
Barley noted that because Star Rock Farms -- home to 1200 milking cows -- is a diversified operation growing grain enough to sell, that has helped keep their operation at a sustainable level; whereas most dairy producers rely pretty much on the dairy, alone.
With only a few moments in a television news clip to explain the dairy situation to a wider audience, Barley noted that dairy farmers are pushing for more control in a marketplace manipulated by those who best understand the complicated milk-pricing system.
While the Wall Street Journal article correctly noted that milk prices paid to farmers are up 32% from year ago; it was not mentioned that year ago prices were down more than 45% below the previous year's. Barley noted that dairies, in general, lost as much as $7 for every 100 pounds of milk they shipped last year.
Barley also noted that the 32% rise in milk prices paid to farmers this year simply bring dairies back to breakeven. He told the news station's reporter that he's not discouraged by the current marketplace, but rather motivated to churn out new opportunities as a way to afford a steadily changing future for farmers.
He said it is time for "dairy producers to be figuring out how best to market your product and think outside the box to keep more of the dollars in your pocket...."