In Wisconsin, as coronavirus concerns have shuttered some of dairy’s biggest buyers: restaurants, schools and food service businesses, the list of dairies who are at full capacity and can’t purchase more milk from farmers continues to grow.
Up North News reports that The Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery in Pierce County sent a letter to its members urging them to cut milk production by 7%.
“We may need to dump milk if our milk supply is not reduced,” the letter states.
Jeff Peck, a 35-year-old who milks 180 cows on his farm south of Chippewa Falls, told the outlet that he hadn’t heard of milk dumping happening since the recession of 2008-09 after demand for dairy products dropped.
“It’s a crazy situation,” Peck said Friday. “When you see farmers dumping their milk because they have nowhere to sell it, you know things are bad.”
The difficulties farmers are facing are in addition to five years of low milk prices that have prompted numerous farmers in Wisconsin to declare bankruptcy.
“This was supposed to be a good year, a year when we could get higher milk prices and recover a bit, write off some debt, “ Peck said. “That recovery lasted for two months. Then the virus hit.”
Read more about the struggles dairy farmers are facing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.