Sappey applauds passage of bills supporting the dairy industry

HARRISBURG, April 14 – State Rep. Christina Sappey, D-Chester, announced that a package of bills supporting the Pennsylvania Dairy Industry passed the state House this week.

“Pennsylvania is home to over 5,000 dairy farms, producing over 10.3 billion pounds of milk every year,” Sappey said. “This bipartisan package of bills would help struggling dairy farmers and support the commonwealth’s dairy industry. As the granddaughter of a dairy farmer, I’m proud to have supported these bills in the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee and pleased to see them pass before the House.”

House Bill 1847, introduced by Sappey, would change the name of the PA Milk Marketing Board to the PA Milk Board. The board monitors and enforces minimum payments to milk producers while licensing milk dealers, haulers, testers and weigher/samplers operating in Pennsylvania. This change more clearly reflects the role of the board to our dairy farmers and the industry.

Other bills from the package, including H.B.s 224, 2456 and 2457, would update the Milk Marketing Law to more current standards, including suggestions from a recent Legislative Budget and Finance Committee study. These updates would allow more coordination between the board and the PA Department of Revenue for milk premium payments to help farms experiencing hardship, and updating penalties, fees, and enforcement measures for the licensure of milk dealers, certified testers, weighers, and samplers of dairy products.

House Bill 223, the Keystone Opportunity Dairy Zone Act, would establish tax exemptions in designated areas throughout the state to encourage milk processing facilities and assist the dairy industry.

Currently in the commonwealth, skim milk is the only dairy beverage option during school lunches. House Bill 2397 would create the Whole Milk in Pennsylvania Act, authorizing schools in Pennsylvania to purchase whole milk that is produced, processed and bottled in the state as an option for students.

The bills now move to the state Senate for approval.