Cheesemakers help buy extra milk
BARABOO, Wis — A dairy crisis is averted as dozens of Wisconsin farmers have found a new home for their milk but those homes are not necessarily permanent.
Foremost farms is just one of the milk buyers that took in a number of those farmers but with most of their plants at max capacity, Joan Behr, senior director of Foremost Farms USA communications, said the demand for cheese is making it possible to take on additional milk.
“It’s a very fine line between balancing what’s coming in in terms of raw material and what the marketplace is demanding. Fortunately, we were able to help some of these farms,” Behr said.
Foremost was able to take on a few of the farmers in need because the farms were in close proximity to one of its plants. While the milk market is full, Joan Behr says the co-op’s high demand for cheese will help balance the surplus.
“We were able to do so because we have a product mix in terms of cheese and good demand from our customers so we were able to strategically source that milk,” she said
Unlike foremost not all cheesemakers know where the extra milk will go. Five cheesemakers from the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association are taking on some of the farms displaced by grassland dairy.
Companies and cooperatives include dairy farmers of America, Foremost Farms USA, Grande Cheese and Mullins Cheese.
“For instance, Bill Mullins, from Mullins Cheese said he wasn’t sure that he would be processing the milk right away; but he felt the need to step in and help out these farmers in this moment,” said the communication and policy manager of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.
Although Foremost offered long-term contracts to their new farmers, some of those contracts from other buyers are shorter which means they will have to find another solution soon.
“We saw cheesemakers say, ‘Yes, I can pick up an extra load of milk, yes I can help out, I can buy a little bit of time for these farmers to figure out a plan for their longtime future,'” Sweeney said.
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