Newspaper Page Text
A26-LancMt«r Fanning, Saturday, May 21, 1994
Changes In Pa.’s Agribusiness Economy Mirror Change Nationwide
UNIVERSITY PARK (Centre
Co.) Pennsylvania agribusines
ses are following trends set by
other resource-based and manu
facturing industries in the state,
but have not been hit as hard by
Job losses, said a researcher in
Penn State’s College of Agricul
“The number of Agribusiness
jobs and companies is declining,
in both production and process
ing,” said Dr. Steve Smith, associ
ate professor of agricultural eco
nomics. “But these declines are
small compared to those in indus
tries not related to agriculture.”
Smith and br. Theodore Fuller,
adjunct assistant professor of agri
cultural ccdnomics, used data
from the Pennsylvania Depart
ment and the Department of Labor
and Industry to compare trends in
the Pennsylvania agribusiness
economy with other manufactur
Pennsylvania’s economy has
undergone drastic changes in the
past 15 years. “Manufacturing
employment declined in all years
but two from 1980, resulting in a
net loss of 375,000 jobs, or more
than 28 percent of total manufac
turing employment,” Smith said.
“In rural areas, the major
employment declines occurred in
manufacturing industries unre
lated to agriculture or forestry,”
Smith said. “Job losses in these
industries were five times greater
than in traditional rural resource
based industries. The industries
underlying the decline were the
same industries on which rural
economic diversification and job
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Farm Bureau has
surpassed its 1994
membership goal by
According to David
director for the state
Farm Bureau, “This is
the most member fami
lies we’ve ever had and
it looks like we will top
24,000 in just a few
He said, “The grow
ing member numbers
mean increased legisla
tive clout on correcting
the critical issues facing
agriculture and rural
New York, like soaring
property and business
premiums, and attacks
against the rights of pri
vate property owners.
Farmers and their rural
that they can only solve
their problems by work
ing together as a group
and Farm Bureau
provides the vehicle to
make that happen.”
about joining Farm
Bureau, call (518)
436-8495 or write to
ment, New York Farm
Bureau, Inc., P.O. Box
992, Glenmont, N.Y.
growth had been based in the
1960 s and 19705.”
Throughout this period, total
nonfarm employment in the state
grew by 6.3 percent, with all the
net increase coming the
mid-1980s. “This was due entirely
to growth in private service
producing industries,” Smith said.
“Manufacturing, government, and
mining had net job losses.”
Traditional rural industries also
continued a long-term decline,
including farm production
employment and agriculture-
1 THOMAS JURCHAK
I Lackawanna County
SCRANTON (Lackawanna Co.) After nine weeks of counter
seasonal price increases of nearly 12 cents, prices on the National
Cheese Exchange plummeted 20 cents during the last four weeks.
Prices were expected to drop with increasing dealer inventories and
milk production, and the first sign came with just a half-cent, cheese
price fall on April 22.
The next drop was 4 cents on barrels the following week, and then a
5-cent price drop came during the first week of May.
Disaster really struck on Friday the 13lh prices went 10 cents
That pul block prices down to less than $1.20, and barrel prices less
Previous high prices, coming just a month ago, were nearly $1.40 for
blocks and more than 51.37 for barrels.
While a price drop was predicted, the suddenness was a shock that
completely changed the market situation for the rest of the year.
Even without further losses, the 20-cent fall could translate into a $2
drop in the Minnesota-Wisconsin Price Series within the nfcxt two
months, and be reflected in the farm price by mid-summer.
Right now, the barrel price is higher than the block price, which is the
reverse of normal pricing.
That reversal alone would indicate that further price adjusting will
occur, and the trend downward will continue.
The long anticipated increase in milk production came in April, but
and get higher production with lower cost and less maintenance.
—— •'nee 1982
nipples |,i ns anc j
related manufacturing. “Farm
employment decreased by'about
11 percent from 1975 to 1987, and
the decline has continued', “Smith
said. “The number of farms and
amount of land in farms also have
At the same time, agricultural
output has increased, indicating
that agricultural industries are
adopting labor-saving technology.
“Poultry output and hog output
have expanded by about 20 per
cent and 30 percent, respectively,
since the mid-1980s,” Smith said.
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' IM*-> A
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“Long-term increased in milk pro
duction have continued, accom
panied by growth in the green
house and nursery industry.
Growth in mushrooms has been
especially strong. The only sig
nificant declines have been in beef
cattle, apples, and com for grain.”
Food processing employment
as a whole declined 5.5 percent
from 1975 to 1990, a loss of
almost 5,000 jobs. Most job losses
were in dairy products, bakery
products, fats and oils, and bever
ages. Food processing industries
started back in March, according to revised estimates.
For April, milk production was 1 percent more than a year ago,
ending nine consecutive months with production lower than year
Wisconsin and Minnesota continued dropping production at the same
rate of 7 percent and S percent, a trend they have maintained since last
The Northeast stayed even, with Pennsylvania down 1 percent, and
New York up 1 percent But that is still a lot of milk in this market
The big increases came from the South and West with California up
8 percent Washington 4 percent Florida 7 percent Texas 11 percent
and Idaho production up IS percent.
Milk was moving out of the South to Midwest plants for processing.
Cheese prices weren’t the only ones affected by increasing milk pro
duction. Butter prices dropped below support levels and increased vol
umes were being offered to the Commodity Credit Corporation.
Non-fat dry powder, for the first time this year, was purchased by the
CCC during the first week of May. Since then, nearly three million
pounds has been offered for sale.
After the bad news, comes the good news.
The M-W price for April was $12.99. Thai’s 22 cents more than last
month, and 84 cents more than last year.
The M-W made another record high for the month, and this higher
price will be feeding into your milk check for the next two months. In
fact, the higher milk prices you’ve had so far this year are part of the rea
son for the increased production.
However, production increases may not be finished yet the upper
Midwest hasn’t kicked in yet with a new forage crop that will bring pro
duction increases in that region.
In Federal Order markets in Pennsylvania, April-milk farm prices
will be increased by $1 to $1.37 over last year’s price, and it can be
expected to climb further in May.
As in other years, how well you fare the rest of the year may well
depend on the kindness of the weatherman.
It will be difficult to endure crop losses on top of lower milk prices, so
spending must be kept to a minimum, until you know,, *
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that gained employment were
meat products, miscellaneous pro
ducts, and sugar and confection
These changes in the manufac
turing and agribusiness economics
signal a major change in the char
acter of Pennsylvania’s general
economy, both rural and urban.
“Pennsylvania certainly has less
of the heavy industry for which \t
was known,” Smith said. ‘The
economy has become much more
diversified and more like the
nation’s as a whole.”
for layers, pullets &