Harrisburg — October 25, 2022 — Today, state Sens. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) and Judy Schwank (D-Berks), the chairs of the Pennsylvania Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB) expressing their concerns about House Bill 224.
House Bill 224 seeks to amend the Milk Marketing Law and give the PMMB the authority, by official order, to fix, coordinate, facilitate or establish the collection and distribution of premiums established by the PMMB on milk and dairy products. In the letter, Vogel and Schwank raised concerns about making hasty changes to Pennsylvania’s over-order premium laws, which have been in place since 1988.
“No one disputes that our current over-order premium is very complex and that changing it will produce varying impacts upon those in the dairy industry,” Vogel and Schwank said in the letter. “We recognize that this industry has diminished, due in part to a decrease in milk consumption, and want to act in the best interest of farmers. It is therefore in the best interest of Pennsylvania’s dairy industry, and its consumers, that any changes are carefully crafted through thorough review and consideration.”
The lawmakers are also requesting that the PMMB reauthorize the current over-order premium beyond Dec. 31, 2022. “It is imperative that this premium be maintained until further examination and consideration may be made or it is anticipated that unintended volatility in the commonwealth’s dairy industry could ensue. We firmly believe that inaction on your part could result in a significant impact on consumers at the grocery store during these inflationary times.”
Vogel and Schwank closed the letter by saying they look forward to working collaboratively with the PMMB and all members of the general assembly and hope to address the over-order premium system early in the 2023-2024 Legislative Session.
“Let us be clear, we whole-heartedly support Pennsylvania’s dairy industry. However, this must be demonstrated in a balanced manner and from and educated perspective; we must be diligent and fair in how we approach such a monumental change for dairy producers.”