Why farmers are being told to dump milk, even with some store shelves empty

Tanker Dump Web

MADISON, Wis. — Some Wisconsin dairy farmers who were already struggling before the COVID-19 outbreak are now being dealt another blow: being forced to dump out large amounts of their milk.

The Dairy Farmers of America reached out to more than a hundred of Wisconsin’s largest dairy producers this week, asking them to dump their milk until at least April 6th. It’s in response to the market being flooded with milk right now, due to large consumers of dairy products — like schools and restaurants — being shut down due to the virus.

While the actual supply of milk is outpacing the demand, consumers are still being limited in how much milk they can buy, with many grocery stores putting limits on how much milk, cheese and other dairy products.

Speaking on News 3 Now This Morning Thursday, Pam Jahnke of the Midwest Farm Report called the milk dumping “one of the worst stories I’ve had to report in my 30+ year career.” She asked people to buy, use or donate as many dairy products as they can during this time to help farmers avoid having to dump their milk.

“If you’re allowed to purchase milk, buy it. Send another family member in and buy it again. Send friends in and buy it again. If you can use it, if you can consume it, please, please do,” said Jahnke.

Brief Editorial by Farm Director, Pam Jahnke.

Posted by Fabulous Farm Babe on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

She also wants to see stores put an end to those item limits.

“There’s milk out there, we’ll get it to you, but please don’t send that message to our consumers or our dairy farmers, they’re disheartened enough,” said Jahnke.

The milk being dumped can’t be donated to food banks as-is because it still needs to be processed, and those plants are already operating at capacity, according to the Dairy Farmers of America. They’re trying to continue to pay their farmers that are being forced to dump milk, but may not be able to do that indefinitely.

The organization says it anticipates milk being more readily available at grocery stores in the coming weeks.