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State awards grant money to 2 area dairies

State Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr., R-35th District, and state Rep. Jim Rigby, R-Johnstown, have announced the approval of state grants totaling $505,460 that will allow two dairies to expand their operations and purchase new equipment.

The Galliker Dairy Co. received $470,076 to purchase a new Lynx Ice Cream Cup Filler machine at its dairy processing facility in Richland Township, Cambria County. The grant will supplement the $393,974 Galliker is investing in the project.

“Many local residents don’t realize what a large footprint Galliker’s has in the mid-Atlantic area as a supplier of milk, iced tea and ice cream,” Rigbyc said. “The grant they independently pursued and are receiving will allow them to significantly increase their daily ice cream production capability from 830 gallons to more than 1,600 gallons.”

Hidden Hills Dairy LLC received a grant of $35,384 to purchase and install cheese-making equipment at its dairy farm located in West Providence Township, Bedford County. Currently, the dairy is unable to process all the fluid milk it produces and often must dispose of excess due to the lack of aging and storage space.

The equipment additions will allow the dairy to double its cheese production and sales over the next two years.

It also plans to expand offerings to include flavored cheeses and cheese balls.

The funding was approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority through its Value-Added Processing — Cooperative, Processing Plant or Multi-Producer Program.

“Agriculture and the dairy industry are not only important contributors to our local economy, but also an important part of our heritage,” Langerholc said. “I’m pleased that these local dairies can use their grants to expand their operation and offer new products which will make them more successful.”

Pennsylvania dairy farming is one of the most important parts of the state’s agriculture economy, supporting 52,000 jobs and contributing $14.7 billion to the state’s economy.

However, challenging market conditions have created a serious threat to the livelihood of many dairy farmers.

The USDA reported that Pennsylvania lost 370 dairy farms in 2018.

The number of dairy cows in the state decreased by 25,000 head.

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