DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. - Some lawmakers in the Statehouse want to allow milk haulers to be on the roads during a winter weather travel ban. They say, keeping milk haulers off the roads even for a few hours can hurt their business.
"By law, the first milk that hits the farm tank must be at the milk plant within 66 hours," said Gib Martin, Mt. Joy Farmers Co-op General Manager.
Martin says a winter weather travel ban is another hit to the already struggling farming industry. The ban keeps them off the roadways for several hours, and if a hauler doesn't make it to a milk processing facility in time, the tankers have to dump their loads of up to 5,000 gallons of milk.
"It's the dairy farmer that financially gets hit," said Martin.
There was a directive issued by PEMA in 2008 allowing milk haulers to be on the roads during winter weather travel bans, but there's been a lot of confusion on that directive over the years.
"I know a few [milk haulers] that were prosecuted because they were out [during a winter weather travel ban,]" said Martin.
To make it crystal clear, milk haulers can be on the roads during a winter weather travel ban, a bill will soon be introduced in the Statehouse to exempt them from the bans. Of course, Mark O'Neil with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau says there would be obvious exceptions to this.
"You get three feet of snow in the course of 24 or 26 hours and roads are going to be impassable," said O'Neil. "They wouldn't be able to get on the roadways anyway. "
Once the bill is introduced, it would have to be voted out of committee before being voted on by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.