PENN TOWNSHIP -- It's no secret that the number of dairy farms in Pennsylvania has been shrinking for years. Struggling dairy farmers in Lycoming County are reaching out to their government officials for help.
Newswatch 16 was there firsthand on Wednesday when farmers voiced their mounting concerns to county commissioners, and it was made clear in the meeting -- these farmers feel they are being taken advantage of while milk prices continually fluctuate.
Farmers say they aren't getting paid enough for their product to keep their farms afloat.
This rings true for the Hall family. Their barn just outside of Muncy used to be filled with cows, but now it sits empty. Donna Hall and her family ran a dairy farm here for decades, but in 2012 they gave it up for good.
"It wasn't exactly a hard decision," said Hall. "Every time the milk truck pulled it was like we were getting half of much as we should be. We just got tired of putting money down a big black hole."
The Hall's farm is just one of several in Lycoming County that have considered getting rid of dairy altogether because of the profit loss. That reason is why nearly a dozen other farmers met with Lycoming County Commissioners and Congressman Tom Marino in Williamsport -- all in hopes of finding a solution to this long battle.
"I want somebody to hear that they better wake up and start realizing what's happening to our farmers," pleaded Hall.
And Hall's sentiments were echoed through the crowd.
"Times are not well," said Walt Barnes of Millerton.
"Trying to fix things. The system's broken," said Hal Drick of Elimsport. "The rest of the way down the chain, the processors the retailers they are making money. We need a piece of the pie too."
Drick has about 200 cows on his family's dairy farm near Elimsport. Drick is struggling, but hopeful -- he'd like to see new legislation to protect family farms from going under.
"You know we aren't asking to get rich. We just want to pay our bills and have enough to live on," he added.
Congressman Marino promised to bring the farmers' concerns to Washington.
Wednesday's meeting comes just a month before County Commissioners head o a national inference where they plan to share these concerns with other County Commissioners from across the country.