Dairy farmers discuss the industry changes and struggles at PA Farm Show

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Borden Dairy Farms based out Texas filed for bankruptcy this week. While the impact will be minimal on dairy farmers in PA, it still raises concerns on the future of the dairy industry.

Dairy is a big part of the Farm Show, but dairy farmers say, they struggle with a number of issues facing their industry.

"We have a lot of different issues that we're trying to wrap our arms around," said Lolly Lesher, Way-Har Farms owner. "But our main priority is to take care of our animals, take care of our land, and take care of our community and family."

One of the biggest issues is the decrease in fluid milk consumption. According to government data, in 1996 Americans drank 24 gallons of milk per year. Now, that's down to 17 gallons.

Lesher uses the farm show as a way to educate visitors on dairy farming, and why she believes milk is beneficial to drink.

"Whole milk is really a good high quality protein, it's a low amount of high-quality fat," said Lesher. "So, it's a good high protein, calcium choice."

Farmers also using the farm show to educate people on the so-called 'milk' choices they'll see in their grocery stores, including items like almond and soy milks, which contain no dairy at all.

"When a plant based product says milk on the label it does lead to confusion," said Jayne Sebright, The Center for Dairy Excellence Executive Director. "People don't always understand that it's wearing milk's healthy halo when it's really not milk."

While there are obstacles in the dairy industry, the farm show gives dairy farmers the opportunity to sell more of their product directly to the consumer.

Lilly is one of the cows from Way-Har Farms and she is contributing to the farm show in a big way. Her milk was used to make the chocolate milk sold in these bottles here at the farm show.

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