Brewing trade war has dairy farmers concerned

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Jayne Sebright is the Executive Director of the Center of Dairy Excellence. She says the dairy industry is a big one in Pennsylvania. 

 “It contributes over 14 billion in annual economic revenue, and supports 52,000 jobs,” said Sebright. 

It’s also an industry that’s seen struggles in recent years, with the state losing about 800 dairy farms since 2010. Those farmers now have something else to worry about. 

 “Dairy farms in Pennsylvania, and across the country, are very concerned about the tariff discussions,” said Sebright.

Mexico is now imposing retaliatory tariffs on cheese. China is implementing tariffs on milk powder and other products, which means our local dairy products will cost those countries more. 

“And they’ll get that product from other countries, like New Zealand, or European Union. Putting our products at a disadvantage in the world market,” said Sebright. 

Secretary of Agriculture, Russel Redding, says he’s most focused on China. 

“If they put a 25 percent tariff on any dairy product. Dried, cheese, you name it, that’s going to hurt,” said Redding. 

Which is why the “Choose PA Dairy” campaign was launched. It urges people to buy local, and hopefully help keep Pennsylvania farmers in business. 

 “Looking for the PA Preferred label, or looking for the 42 at the beginning of the plant code, can make sure that you’re buying Pennsylvania dairy products, and you’re supporting our local dairy industry,” said Sebright. 

You can find a list of locations that sell PA Preferred products here.

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