Dairy Farmers in Wisconsin Forced to Dump Their Entire Milk Production—Every Day

Dairy Farmers in Wisconsin Forced to Dump Their Entire Milk Production—Every Day
Jugs of McArthur Dairy milk, a Dean Foods brand, are shown at a grocery store, in Surfside, Fla., on Nov. 12, 2019. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

A Wisconsin dairy farmer was forced to discard around 56,000 pounds of milk on Wednesday, April 1, because there was no one buying milk amid the CCP Virus pandemic, according to multiple reports.

Mark Mueller, who owns the Mueller Dairy Farm in Greenleaf, Wisconsin, said that a member of the Dairy Farmers of American informed him that he had to get rid of all of the milk, according to WFRV. Amidst the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, the pandemic made it impossible for the farmers to get their milk to the market.

He was forced to discard his milk in a pit on their property. Mueller said that all the milk dumped inside the pit would rot there.

“It’s like the principle of it. You put all that labor and work into the milk, and you hate to see it go down the drain when you know that there are people starving in the world and in our country even. We hate to throw things away,” Mueller said, according to WFRV.

Mueller said that though he will get reimbursed, he will have to continue dumping the milk in the coming days because of the limited number of milk purchases allowed in grocery stores. Other food-related places, Mueller said, didn’t feel like they had any place to take all the milk farmers are producing.

What’s more, many other farms in Wisconsin have also had to dump their milk. WFRV reported that J and J Pickart’s Farm in Fond du Lac was dumping around 65,000 pounds of milk per day.

One family-run farm had to dump around 220,000 pounds of milk a day—up till April 6, according to USA Today. The owners never thought that this would happen.

“Everybody’s rushing to the grocery store to get food, and we have food that’s literally being dumped down the drain,” the owner, Ryan Elbe, said.

“Dairy Farmers of America” has agreed to reimburse Elbe’s family farm for all the milk that’s being dump for now, as the farm is a part of Dairy Farmers of America. Still, even they are in a tough situation, according to USA Today.

Elbe said that it’s essential to figure out what to do now, and not in the next couple of weeks.

Due to the perishable nature of dairy, the products produced have a short shelf-life. So if there aren’t any customers buying their products, dairy farmers would be forced to dump their products down the drain. Various farmers are closing down their processing plant or just cutting down the amount of production of dairy items, as a result of the pandemic, USA Today reported.

“I think that a lot of milk will all of a sudden be dumped. Everyone across the industry is feeling distressed now. Over the last several hours, I have heard this is unfolding. There is definitely a strain on markets now. The whole consumption rate for milk is so much different than it was before COVID-19,” said Julie Sweney, the spokesperson for the FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative in Madison, Wisconsin.

Daniel Smith, the president and CEO of Cooperative Network, said that they had hoped that the disposal of milk could be avoided, and it’s unsettling for him to see that it is happening, according to USA Today. He said that support needed to be given to these dairy farmers as soon as possible, and calls upon the government for help.

“The dairy industry is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is essential that every means of support be given to Wisconsin dairy farmers and cooperatives as quickly as possible. This support should include increased government purchasing and distribution of dairy products,” Smith said.

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