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Fri Apr 3, 2020, 10:41 AM

U.S. dairy farmers dump milk as pandemic upends food markets

Source: Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Dairy farmer Jason Leedle felt his stomach churn when he got the call on Tuesday evening.

"We need you to start dumping your milk," said his contact from Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the largest U.S. dairy cooperative.

Despite strong demand for basic foods like dairy products amid the coronavirus pandemic, the milk supply chain has seen a host of disruptions that are preventing dairy farmers from getting their products to market.

Mass closures of restaurants and schools have forced a sudden shift from those wholesale food-service markets to retail grocery stores, creating logistical and packaging nightmares for plants processing milk, butter and cheese. Trucking companies that haul dairy products are scrambling to get enough drivers as some who fear the virus have stopped working. And sales to major dairy export markets have dried up as the food-service sector largely shuts down globally.

Read more: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-dairy-farmers-dump-milk-100445480.html



Milk is one of the few things I can still swallow due to the disability I have.

As of now, no way to get groceries!

I tried yesterday by calling the various phone #'s being given out.

Chaos abounds and no luck!



To think they are dumping milk now! WHAT THE HELL?



42 replies, 3088 views

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Reply U.S. dairy farmers dump milk as pandemic upends food markets (Original post)
CountAllVotes Apr 3 OP
customerserviceguy Apr 3 #1
Afromania Apr 3 #4
Tribalceltic Apr 3 #7
Marthe48 Apr 3 #8
yellowdogintexas Apr 4 #41
Hotler Apr 3 #10
Kaleva Apr 3 #11
customerserviceguy Apr 3 #18
Wellstone ruled Apr 3 #31
shanti Apr 4 #38
DBoon Apr 3 #2
mainer Apr 3 #3
TexasBushwhacker Apr 3 #14
Totally Tunsie Apr 3 #22
Faminewolf Apr 3 #24
Arkansas Granny Apr 3 #5
Faminewolf Apr 3 #25
Arkansas Granny Apr 3 #33
Faminewolf Apr 3 #34
Rhiannon12866 Apr 4 #36
bucolic_frolic Apr 3 #6
Wellstone ruled Apr 3 #32
Igel Apr 3 #9
Kaleva Apr 3 #12
howardmappel Apr 3 #13
TexasBushwhacker Apr 3 #16
catsudon Apr 3 #17
TexasBushwhacker Apr 3 #20
mahina Apr 4 #39
McCamy Taylor Apr 3 #15
IronLionZion Apr 3 #19
roamer65 Apr 3 #21
NickB79 Apr 3 #23
UpInArms Apr 3 #26
Texaswitchy Apr 3 #27
matt819 Apr 3 #28
mwooldri Apr 3 #29
Post removed Apr 3 #30
BrightKnight Apr 3 #35
womanofthehills Apr 4 #37
quaint Apr 4 #40
Hortensis Apr 5 #42

Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 10:44 AM

1. About forty years ago

the USDA paid dairy farmers for their surplus milk, and either reduced it to easily storable powdered form, or made it into cheese, and distributed it to folks hurt by the recession of the early 1980's. I'm surprised that isn't seen as an option today.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 10:49 AM

4. That would make sense which is exactly what this administration has none of

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Response to Afromania (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 10:57 AM

7. I remember getting that cheese

it made wonderful tuna melts, toasted cheese sandwiches and Mac and Cheese. Yellow cheese that came in 5 pound blocks. Had a wonderful taste too and made lots of meals .

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Response to Tribalceltic (Reply #7)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 11:01 AM

8. We called it reagan cheese

Got several 5lb loaves. My husband was laid off for 26 months. So were most of his friends and relatives.

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Response to Tribalceltic (Reply #7)

Sat Apr 4, 2020, 10:03 PM

41. commodity cheese and butter have been around since the 1950s

All of our school cafeterias used commodity products for our lunch food. I think there were scheduled pickups for families who were getting the 1950s equivalent of food stamps

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 11:35 AM

10. Can't have that.... free cheese is socialism.

but, my mom and grandma used to work the church food bank and for helping out good some of that cheese. It was a good cheese, not some velveta type stuff. It made great mac and cheese.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 12:09 PM

11. My FIL gets cheese and powdered milk from the commodities program for seniors and low income.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 03:01 PM

18. Maybe Faux Snooze

needs to run a segment on the wastage, then maybe Trump will say something at one of his pressers.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 05:59 PM

31. And Ronnie the Great killed that program.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 4, 2020, 12:56 AM

38. Yup

I stood in line for some of that cheese. It was cheddar, not that american cheese food crap. Made for lots of burritos for my 3 young sons. I was grateful for it.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 10:45 AM

2. They did this during the great depression too

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 10:49 AM

3. Milk prices are regulated by the federal government

And right now, those prices are rock bottom, so the farmers aren't making any money. They can't sell it for more because it's forbidden. No wonder they're dumping it. It's probably cheaper for them to just stop producing milk.

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Response to mainer (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 02:14 PM

14. It's really too low

I can regularly get milk for less than $3 a gallon. When I think of everything that goes into making it, that just seems too low. Of course, grocery stores often use milk and eggs as loss leaders to get people into the store.

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Response to mainer (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 03:49 PM

22. "It's probably cheaper for them to just stop producing milk."

Tell that to the cows. They don't stop producing.

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Response to Totally Tunsie (Reply #22)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 05:01 PM

24. What?

 

They would stop producing milk if the farmers stop impregnating them against their will.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 10:50 AM

5. If the farmers can't get milk to the dairies,they have to do something with it. The cows will keep

producing and will have to be milked. There is a limit to storage capacity at the farms, so if it can't be picked up, they will have to dispose of it. It's not something they want to do. It's literally money down the drain.

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Response to Arkansas Granny (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 05:12 PM

25. The cows keep producing

 

Because the farmers force them to.

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Response to Faminewolf (Reply #25)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 07:43 PM

33. I don't mean to sound snarky, but have you ever raised cows?

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Response to Arkansas Granny (Reply #33)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 07:53 PM

34. No, but,

 

I know a cow is a mammal and that it does not produce milk without having a baby cow. Cow milk is for baby cows.

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Response to Faminewolf (Reply #34)

Sat Apr 4, 2020, 12:28 AM

36. My doctor used to have a notice on his bulletin board that said

"Cow's milk is for calves."

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 10:54 AM

6. Distribution is irregular at this point

I posted yesterday about my shopping trip, 4 supermarkets, fringe burb of big city, likely end-of-line supply chain. One high priced and one superstore had 15-25% stockouts. Retail bakery, fish, closed. Other regional chain had supply, a few items overpriced, eggs at 30 cents each. Only eggs in town. Satellite franchise good prices, but they are a closeout operation too. Availability was great, but some were unpopular items from Kraft and Quaker. Milk, the subject of your post, has been irregular for awhile. Shrinking shelf space, and in Walmart frequent stock outs in many items. I can hardly find powdered milk. Only available in two stores, one with house brand, one Carnation small packets only which are expensive.

I suspect we are seeing reduced trucking. Stores that post througout the store please only buy one, our trucks deliver every day are telling you something for a reason.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 06:05 PM

32. Bottom line,

as of January 1st,we had about 2 million to many Cows on the Milking lines. And it is only going to get worse.

As some one who tried to organize the Dairy Industry in Wisconsin from 1958 till the fall of 1961,it was like herding Cats. Nixon had these folks scared crap-less and that same false independence still rules the day today.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 11:14 AM

9. Distribution networks have shifted.

If you were working in a restaurant or bakery and used a lot of milk you're pretty much shut down.

Schools? They doled out lots of milk in 8 oz cartons.

No more.

Millions of gallons went to dairies to be packaged for institutional distribution or in large bags for cows (milk dispensers). The same for large bricks of cheddar, 5 lb tubs of cottage cheese, 25 lb bags of mozzarella. They'd be sold to wholesale distributers to institutional customers. Truckers were hired to carry the milk or dairy products. Restaurants don't buy from Safeway, they're on a separate supply chain.

That's mostly cut. It'll take a while for those providing retail versions of dairy to scale up to meet demand, which means both finding sources of milk as well as making sure they can provide the right packaging and transportation. Not only do the supply networks have to change, but they have to change without a clue as to how long this will last. So the suppliers under contract now--do they void their contracts? Subcontract? And what happens when things switch back? "Shut down" are easy words to say, but a lot harder to actually accomplish. No one person, no one office, can keep on track of everything that's involved--you can't keep 15 things in working memory, much less 15,000.

It's unclear to me that the plastics manufacturers and printers that produce the packaging for dairy products are considered essential. When a job is "essential" it carries with it not just that job or product that you see come out from that office or plant but every supplier behind that job. Milk's essential? It means the people logging trees for paper pulp production are essential, as are those producing ink and the coatings for the waterproof paper.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 12:11 PM

12. On top of this is the decline in demand for milk.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 02:04 PM

13. Already a huge stockpile

IIRC, the Feds are already sitting on a mountain of cheese and milk products, but chooses to not distribute. After all, none of the orange shit gibbon's friends need help with getting adequate food so fuck the poor and the needy. Just like Jesus said.

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Response to howardmappel (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 02:19 PM

16. Especially with the increased demand on the food banks

it should all be distributed, YESTERDAY. Then they can build up the stockpile.

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Response to TexasBushwhacker (Reply #16)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 02:41 PM

17. well

we can get it all the time, we call it government cheese.


do you have snap?

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Response to catsudon (Reply #17)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 03:20 PM

20. I do not, but I imagination there will be many more people

getting SNAP. I just don't understand wasting food.

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Response to howardmappel (Reply #13)

Sat Apr 4, 2020, 12:30 PM

39. Nailed. If Poole knew that things would change for him.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 02:19 PM

15. Feds should go get the milk and help deliver it

What about all the kids who depend upon school lunches who are now at home starving?

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 03:33 PM

21. Make it into cheese and powdered milk.

Hand it out for free to everyone.

I would sign an executive order to make it happen.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 04:58 PM

23. I work at a DFA-owned facility

We make cultured products (cheese, yogurt, sour cream).

We're working overtime trying to meet demand for more product now that store shelves are going empty and no one's eating out. 60-hr workweek is the norm for half the plant. We're at capacity now, unless we start hiring and training new guys, which takes months. And then we'd quickly run out of vat space, and those are $50,000 projects to install. If we get hit by coronavirus, our capacity will drop without trained employees. And we're struggling to get sufficient packaging, because we normally order pallets of cups and lids weeks in advance.

The cheap milk helps us greatly, but having grown up on a small family dairy farm, the thought of dumping milk makes me sick.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 05:14 PM

26. I seem to recall a similar situation



With so many poor people who did not have money for basics like food, the prices dropped. In order to keep the prices up, the producers dumped the food rather than donating it to feed the poor. Once Franklin D Roosevelt was elected, he developed government programs like the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation and Drought Relief Services to buy these products and distribute to the needy, thereby helping the producers and the poor.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 05:19 PM

27. Government cheese.

Remember that.

That was good cheese.




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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 05:24 PM

28. Yet one more thing revealing how tenuous life is in the US

I understand that their markets have encountered a tectonic shift. But to go from that to “dump your milk” in almost no time is just plain nuts.

Maybe it highlights the problem of artificially supported markets. Or a shortage of storage facilities. Or a failure to anticipate market upsets. Or something else I’m probably not even thinking of.

As Monty python tells us, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition. But surely we’re mature enough as a country not to go to this extreme in such a short period.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 05:33 PM

29. Trucking companies that haul dairy can't get drivers?

Meanwhile a whole load of flatbed freight haulers are kicking their heels waiting for freight. Needs to be a better match of drivers to freight I think...

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)


Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 08:35 PM

35. Food banks could use government cheese.

If people can’t get food things could get ugly. Grocery stores were raided in Italy because people could not afford to buy food.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sat Apr 4, 2020, 12:45 AM

37. Organic milk has gone up from $460 to $699

At most stores including Whole Foods and Walmart.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sat Apr 4, 2020, 04:23 PM

40. Thinking good food thoughts for you.

I'm stuck on my property having difficulty getting groceries, too. Checking for open delivery slots hourly for days. I don't get what is causing the food shortage. Don't understand no paper products, either, maybe they are making PPE instead.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sun Apr 5, 2020, 04:49 AM

42. Hope your groceries problem is under control now, Count.

Milk's only one of many products that won't all make it to market. Everything is extremely interdependent and thus vulnerable to disruption. How many of us grow even one potato, about as uncomplicated as it can get? Every simple tuber arrives on our table at the end of a long chain.

Hopefully this will lead a few to vote a bit more responsibly, and to vote period. Poor government is our fault, good our doing, and in 2016 a whole lot of people did very, very bad. And for once consequences are coming home to a lot of them personally, instead of just hurting others.

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