Vanishing Farms: Struggling to Survive


(WBRE/WYOU-TV)  The number of family farms continues to decline across the country and here at home.

      A new census shows thousands of Pennsylvania farmers have closed their doors for business in the last five years.   Eyewitness News Reporter Cody Butler has the story.

Cows on farms are becoming fewer and fewer these days.

  Annette Kuzma has been working on her husband’s family farm for decades. She says farming has always been a physically demanding career — but in the last ten years — it’s been tough financially.

  “It is very heartbreaking to see farmers that are the third generation that wants to carry it on and are just being forced out of businesses,” Said Annette Kuzma, Milky Ray Dairy.

 The US Department of Agriculture released a five-year census report that finds that more than six thousand farms in the Commonwealth have shut down. Dairy farms are the top of the list because of milk prices — the main if the not only source of income.

  “Each of the last five years Pennsylvania farmers have been shortchanged between 500 and 550 million dollars of underpayment, ” Said Arden Tewksbury.

 Arden Tewksbury with the Progressive Agricultural Organization” says Pennsylvania is among the top ten milk producing states k in the country. But, “The only way you’re going to give the remaining dairy farmers a chance to operate. We hardly have any left in the northeast. Is give them a fair price for the milk. They can’t continue by losing money every year “Stressed Tewksbury.

Since President Obama’s administration — whole milk has been sidelined in schools milk with one-percent fat content is the staple. For years dairy advocates have been fighting to get whole milk reinstated, a bill requiring that is now working its way through Congress.

  “People do not understand that you need farmers to have food,” Noted Kuzma.

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