Producers concerned as Grande Cheese seeks 20% milk production cut


Producers concerned as Grande Cheese seeks 20% milk production cut

Another dairy processor is calling on its farmers to drastically reduce production.

Mitch Breunig

Mitch Bruenig and his family operate Mystic Valley Dairy near Sauk City, Wisconsin.  He says, “They’re kind of looking for 20% but they’ren at this point, they’re just saying hey if there is anything you can do to dry up cows or sell some cows, we really need you to do that to cut back.”

Bruenig tells Brownfield for him, that would mean either drying up or culling about 80 cows, making it hard on the bottom line. “As milk prices go down, you have less cash. It’s already going to be hard to pay your bills, so now take a lower milk price and less milk, and that combination together is just really not a great combination. It’s really going to be ugly.”

Bruenig says he hasn’t had to dump milk yet, but he knows of other farmers in his south-central Wisconsin neighborhood that sell to a different processor, and they had to dump milk starting Wednesday. “They’re doing everything they can to sell milk to distressed places, you know, just kind of get rid of the milk in other markets, and I think all of those avenues may be filled up and now they’re struggling to find a place for it.”

Bruenig says he’s sure many of the supply chain problems can be traced to fewer exports with borders closed and the closure of many foodservice outlets, where most of the products from Grande Cheese are used.

John Holevoet with the Dairy Business Association tells Brownfield depending upon the region, 30 to 40 percent of the usual dairy product market is in food service which is shut down except for drive-up and to-go orders because of the stay-at-home guidelines.

On Tuesday, about ten large-scale producers for Dairy Farmers of America began dumping milk. DFA says the demand changes caused by the coronavirus negatively impacted their supply chain.

Brownfield was unable to reach Grande Cheese Wednesday for comment.

Mitch Breunig discusses the request from Grande Cheese to cut milk production with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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