The Wisconsin Dairy Alliance (WDA) has called upon the US Government to urgently act to ‘save’ the dairy industry, claiming dairy farmers have resorted to ‘dumping milk’ as markets collapse amid coronavirus.
According to WDA, the pandemic has left the industry facing a ‘staggering’ crisis, as the shutdown of the nation’s schools, restaurants and coffee shops means cheesemakers and milk processors are left with nowhere to ship their produce.
As major segments of the milk marketplace ‘dried up virtually overnight’, dairy farmers have reportedly been left ‘dumping milk into fields and down drains’.
The alliance goes on to cite Feeding America’s recent statement that they are facing an estimated $1.4 billion shortfall in resources, as it’s projected that the number of food-insecure citizens in the US could rise by more than 45% amid the Covid-19 crisis.
WDA calls on the Government to use disaster funds to buy cheese inventory currently in storage, package it into consumer-sized portions, so that it can be delivered to food banks, pantries and shelters and reach the people who need it most.
WDA also highlights how at farm level, there is ample milk ready and available for use in processing – a potential source of the high quality dairy protein that is urgently needed.
These concerns are echoed in a letter issued by groups representing dairy farmers and cooperatives in the Midwest to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which also calls on the Government to act.
“Direct relief to dairy farmers and a substantial purchase of dairy commodities by USDA can ensure our industry will remain fiscally able to function in its primary role of feeding the nation and the world,” the groups said.
In Europe last month, the European Milk Board (EMB) called on the European Commission to urgently prepare to launch a voluntary volume reduction scheme, with capping.
EMB claimed that pressures caused by the pandemic, including difficulties in procurement and logistics affecting milk-processing and a collapse in demand for some products, meant that in many areas throughout Europe milk production on farms was exceeding processing and market capacity.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019