HARRISBURG, PA — Two bills sponsored by Rep. John Lawrence (R-Chester/Lancaster) that would provide much-needed relief to Pennsylvania’s struggling dairy farmers received overwhelming bipartisan approval Tuesday in the state House of Representatives.
House Bill 1223 would establish Keystone Opportunity Dairy Zones (KODZ) to incentivize expanded dairy processing facilities in Pennsylvania. Modeled after the long-standing Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) program, this legislation would benefit Pennsylvania dairy farmers by providing more markets for milk from Pennsylvania farms. The bill passed by a vote of 194-2.
“I appreciate the bipartisan support these bills received in committee and on the House floor,” said Lawrence. “This legislation would encourage value-added dairy processing plants to locate here in Pennsylvania, helping Pennsylvania dairy farmers to expand into new markets with dairy products that can be shipped throughout the country and around the world.”
Under Lawrence’s bill, milk processing facilities that qualify for the KODZ would be required to invest private capital, create new jobs, and utilize primarily Pennsylvania milk from Pennsylvania farms.
The House also unanimously approved House Bill 1224, which would give the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (MMB) the ability to coordinate the collection and distribution of state-mandated milk premiums with the Department of Revenue, ensuring the premiums reach struggling dairy farmers. Premiums established by the MMB are built into the state-minimum retail price for milk and are to be used for the benefit of Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers, but currently many farmers question whether they are receiving those benefits.
“House Bill 1224 would improve accountability and transparency on how state-mandated milk premium dollars are collected and paid, and would ensure that dairy farmers receive those funds,” said Lawrence. “Pennsylvania’s family dairy farmers are struggling due to historically low prices and foreign competition. Taken together, these bills will positively impact every dairy farmer in Pennsylvania.”
Both bills have received support from family dairy farmers across the state, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the Pennsylvania Association of Milk Dealers, the Pennsylvania Association of Dairy Cooperatives, and the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board.
The bills now move to the State Senate for consideration.
Source: Representative John Lawrence, 13th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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