Dairy farmers dump out milk as school and restaurant demand dries up

New Mexico

ANTHONY, New Mexico (KTSM) — Finding dairy products at grocery stores has become harder, but at the same time, dairy farmers are having to dump out their milk.

Dairy MAX, the dairy council for the region says that’s because many dairy farmers supply milk products to schools and restaurants that have closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since schools and many restaurants are closed the demand for milk went down drastically. However, cows still have to be milked everyday meaning the milk is wasted.

“It has really put the burden of occasionally having to dispose of milk as a temporary last resort,” said Marty McKinzie the vice president of industry image and relations for Dairy MAX.

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However, while the demand for commercial milk products has gone down, the demand for retail milk has gone up. As more people are eating at home.

“Retail sales are certainly above average but overall dairy consumption is down because schools are not in session and restaurants and other food services being limited in their operations,” McKinzie said.

Farmers and producers are now having to turn products that were intended for schools and restaurants into products that can be sold at stores.

“Oftentimes the packaging and the size of the product that’s delivered to grocery stores or distributed through those avenues of food service are much larger and not necessarily for family use,” McKinzie said.

Dairy MAX says farmers and producers are trying to find solutions to this temporary problem. Such as donating the milk to food banks. Although, it is tricky to do since milk spoils fast.

During the summer months, Dairy MAX says that cows produce less milk making it so the farmers won’t have to throw out as much product because the cows won’t be producing as much according to Dairy Max.

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