458 Meylert St Laporte PA 18626
TOURING SULLIVAN COUNTY’S MUSEUM
. . . while dusting
Family tree of a Sullivan County cow, circa 1927
At the recent Pennsylvania Farm Show held in Harrisburg, a brochure handed out by the Center for Dairy Excellence gave multiple facts concerning this industry. Did you know that agriculture (as a whole) is the number one industry in the state? Or, that there are more than 7,200 dairy farms in our state, the second most in any state in the U.S.? This number amounts to approx. 535,000 dairy cows. They produce 1.3 billion gallons of milk annually. It was further stated that the milk produced in PA generates $2 billion in on-farm income and $6 billion in economic revenue. Every nine dairy cows create on job, meaning that 60,000 jobs across the state are supported by dairy farming. And that roughly 85 percent of a dairy farm’s income is spent locally. One cow can equal $13,737 in annual economic impact so that a 100 cow dairy farm can generate $1.37 million!
To take you back in history, a newspaper clipping from Aug. of 1929 gives a report on Sullivan County Cow Testing Assoc. for a seven month period of 23 herds consisting of 237 cows. Forty-nine of these cows produced over 40 lbs. of fat and 15 of them produced over 50 lbs. Sixty nine cows produced over 1,000 lbs. of milk and 33 of those 1,200 lbs or more.
Then in Feb. of 1945 the Commonwealth of PA.’s Dept. of Internal Affairs released a report about dried whole milk produced in the state had quadrupled. It references that in 1942, 1,122,000 pounds were produced but that in 1944, 4,370,000 pounds were prepared, most of it for overseas shipment: WWII. Throughout the war years skim milk and condensed milk productions were reduced to handle the dried whole milk demand to serve the fighting fronts and military support.
The first thing we’d like you to realize is that driving along our country roads and seeing a dairy farm should have much more importance than just an angelic scene. And that when you pick-up your carton of milk at the grocery store, you are grasping not only a necessity to your diet but also helping to support local and state wide dairy farms in their quest to stay in existence. Yes, their existence! In talking with Bill Hart of High Hart Farm in Elkland Twp., he states that over thirty years ago he was talking with the then County Agent, Bill Gregory who said “By golly, there’s only 104 dairy farms in Sullivan County, wonder what it’s going to come to?” Well, Bill Hart said that today there are only 16 diary farms in Sullivan County: that’s what it’s come to. Dairy farming is hard work. That means that besides plowing and harvesting fields, medical needs and facility up keep, milking takes place twice or three times a day every day – no holidays, no sick days but 365 days a year. And it would seem that the more the price of milk goes up, the more the pay for it to the farmer goes down. So, again, enjoy the scene of cows grazing but appreciate the effort to get the milk to your table.
For this and other historical information within the museum or an appointment, you can call (570)946-5020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our web site at www.scpahistory.com
Copyright 2012 Sullivan County PA Historical Society and Museum. All rights reserved.
The Sullivan County PA Historical Society and Museum is a registered 501(c)(3).