A Somerset County dairy farmer testified on Wednesday before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee that “getting whole milk back into schools would be a tremendous advantage to us as dairy farmers.”
Glenn Stoltzfus, who with his three brothers operates a 700-cow dairy farm near Berlin, testified before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade and Entrepreneurship at the invitation of U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-Blair, the ranking member of the subcommittee, according to a press release issued Wednesday afternoon by Joyce’s office.
Joyce, who has spoken on multiple occasions about what he sees as the need to make whole milk widely available in schools, asked Stoltzfus to “address how initiatives like returning whole milk into our public schools can potentially increase dairy use, and actually dairy prices,” according to a transcript of the exchange between Stoltzfus and Joyce provided by Joyce’s office.
“Fluid milk is the class one milk that we receive the highest premium for,” Stoltzfus repllied.
“And, in the northeast part of this country, we tend to sell a lot of our milk in that class one that goes for fluid milk, and as that consumption drops, we continue to lose that premium that is there for that class one milk.”
“It is unfortunate what has happened in the schools and cafeterias where we have tried to push this skim and one percent milk. … To be honest with you, it’s not good. It doesn’t taste good, and when you take away that flavor – you create habits when you are very young, and as you age you tend not to change those habits, so, in that way, yes, we’ve lost a generation of folks that used to drink fluid milk.”
Stoltzfus, who serves on the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s board of directors and chairs the bureau’s Dairy Committee, also testified in response to a question from Joyce that the labeling of non-dairy products as milk has hurt the dairy industry, according to the transcript.
After the hearing, Joyce thanked Stoltzfus for his participation.
“One of the reasons I ran for Congress was to give the people of the 13th District a voice in their federal government, and having someone as knowledgeable as ... Stoltzfus personally testify in front of our committee with suggestions on how we can help dairy farmers was incredibly important,” he said in Wednesday’s press release.
“Mr. Stoltzfus should be commended for sacrificing his valuable time to educate us on the issues, and I look forward to continuing to work with him to revive the dairy industry.”