Local farmers struggling to keep farms in business


Leah Eichelberger, Reporter

After the start of President Trump’s trade war with China, local farmers are beginning to see the effects of the tariffs, and  are giving their input into how their farms are being affected..

According to an article on The Atlantic, the first half of the decade was known as the “golden age” for farmers all around the United States. Prices were skyrocketing higher and higher.

Jones Harvesting L.L.C is one of the many local non-dairy farmers in the county which is being affected by the trade war. Marjie Jones owns several non-dairy farms in Cumberland County and in five other counties.

Jones said, “ The price we are getting on grains can affect us when the inputs to the grains in the ground are higher that we can get to produce grain. We continue to watch the inputs and scouting the fields to try and monitor what the grains and crops are finishing out at with the grain prices.”

It’s hard to maintain multiple farms when many farms in the area are struggling. Jones said, “ We purchases crop insurance and price protection that will cover us to a certain amount until the grain prices bottom out.”

Grain and dairy farms saw a dramatic drop in prices this spring. According to The Atlantic, the number of dairy farms dropped 3% in the last year.

Mains Acres is a non-dairy and dairy farm in Cumberland county. Rick Mains said that Mains Acres is struggling this year. They have two farms that are 1100 acres, and are in the Big Spring School District, West Pennsboro, and Penn Township. Their dairy farms grow dairy replacements/dry cow farms.

Mains said, “ Our crops are struggling this year. Even though they are having excessive moisture and excellent yields, mold and toxins are our big issue this year. Fifth generation farms are disappearing due to not being able to maintain the farm with the low prices for produce.”

The dairy farmers feel the effect of the trade war with Mexico. Trump’s tariffs are affecting the dairy industry and the trade war is affecting generations old dairy and non-dairy farms.