Many grocery stores are running low on milk, so why are dairy farmers throwing out their supplies?

screenshot dairy farms dump milk as coronavirus crisis spoils demand
Dairies are dumping fresh milk despite widespread consumer demand. Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

We are holding our breath waiting for the call that others have received telling them that the milk their farm produces doesn’t have a home and has to be dumped …. [A]t first I couldn’t understand how it’s possible that some stores have empty dairy aisles …. and there is milk being wasted.

[Editor’s note: Carrie Mess is a Wisconsin Dairy Farmer.]

[D]uring normal times a huge chunk of overall dairy consumption happens in schools and restaurants. Around 7% of all fluid milk is consumed at school …. While schools and restaurants are still feeding people, it’s nowhere near the levels it was when life was normal.

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When a restaurant orders their sour cream, they order it pounds. When we buy sour cream at the store, we buy it by the tub. The sour cream plant has separate manufacturing lines for bulk and for tubs. …. The production lines that package bulk sour cream can’t just switch to making tubs because that’s not what they were designed to do.

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This change in what the sour cream plant produces means the plant can’t take in as much cream as it did before. Meanwhile, the milk bottling plants are in the same boat.

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