Dairy Summit

U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., left, welcomed USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to the 15th District Monday for a listening session on the state of dairy farming throughout Pennsylvania.

CRESSON — U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., hosted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Monday for a listening session on the state of dairy farming throughout the commonwealth at Mount Aloysius College.

The conversation centered around the U.S. Department of Agriculture new Dairy Margin Coverage program. The program is a voluntary risk-management program for dairy producers that provides a payment to producers when the difference between the national price of milk and the average cost of feed falls below a certain level selected by the program participants.

At the session, Thompson and Perdue were joined by Republican U.S. representatives John Joyce and Fred Keller, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, Penn State Extension Dairy Educator Andrew Sandeen, USDA Pennsylvania Farm Service Agency Executive Director Gary Groves, and Center for Dairy Excellence Risk Education Program Manager Zach Myers.

“Our agricultural industry — particularly our dairy farmers — are the backbone of Pennsylvania’s economy. The success of our farmers directly impacts the success of our Commonwealth,” said Thompson. “That’s why I’m here today — to learn from our farmers about what’s working, what’s not, and where we can offer support. The new Dairy Margin Coverage program is a great example of the many voluntary risk mitigating resources available to aid farmers nationwide.”

The congressman also stressed the importance of expanding market opportunities for dairy. “We need to do more to encourage new markets for American dairy products both here at home and abroad.”