Confusion continues as milk dumping and store shortages continue
A dairy marketing checkoff group says it is hard to understand what’s happening in the dairy industry right now.
Chad Vincent with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin says dumping milk while stores are limiting how many gallons consumers can buy is confusing for both farmers and non-farm families. “Farmers are frustrated because they see the demand for milk in the grocery stores, but their co-op or their processors are asking them to make less. There are some awful cases where milk is being disposed of as their milk check prices are falling off the face of the earth.”
Vincent tells Brownfield the coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented shift in demand both in the U.S. and worldwide. “One-day-in-seven (production normally going to) exports being sent to the outside world, those numbers are drastically less right now, but even more important is 30-40 percent of all milk produced is used to make products that go through restaurants and foodservice. We all know that half of the restaurants in this country are closed.”
Vincent says there is one bright side, as consumer dairy product sales are up since the coronavirus outbreak, especially fluid milk. “Milk sales over the last two weeks have been up in the high 30’s (percent), which is record-level increases. Year-to-date milk sales at grocery stores is actually on a positive note, which is the first time that’s happened in over a decade.”
Vincent says diversified processors that sell products to retail and foodservice are better able to shift production to the new consumer demand, while processors that were almost exclusively providing products for foodservice users are struggling the most.