Coronavirus forces Ohio dairy farmers to dump milk while grocers limit purchase quantities

Coronavirus

The Ohio Farm Bureau is asking grocery stores to lift their limits on milk and dairy purchases

Milk

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CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is asking customers to alert the agency if your local grocer has placed a purchasing limit on milk.

According to the farm bureau, there is not a shortage on milk. 

In fact, dairy farmers across the Midwest, including here in Ohio, are having to dump their milk because the milk supply is getting too large for the processing plants to handle.

Officials say this in part because the milk that was being made for cheese and yogurt products in schools is having to be moved elsewhere due to closures. Now, that milk is being used to make more milk, instead of milk products.

Farms across Ohio, such as Hartschuh Dairy Farm in Crawford County, are reporting delays in milk pick-ups.

Hartschuh also confirmed that every producer who sends milk to their plant is dumping one pick up down the drain. Hartschuh is doing this as well.

“The milk plant is full. It cannot hold another drop,” the farm shared on social media. “[Thursday] delivery trucks, who take the bottled milk to the grocery stores, returned back to the plant with full jugs. Stores didn’t have any more room on their shelves to accept delivery. This created a backlog at the milk plant, who had no choice but to leave perfectly good milk at the dairy farms.”

Hartschuh cites the coronavirus outbreak as a major contributor to the fast changes in Ohio’s dairy industry.

“When you add in a world-changing event like COVID-19, all bets are off the table. Since the beginning of March, milk prices have plummeted. Exports are down, and domestic markets are unstable,” the farm explained. “As if that’s not enough, when you add grocery store limits and closed restaurants to the mix, an already complex system becomes even more complicated.”

The Ohio Farm Bureau and American Dairy Association Mideast are working with dairy companies and sales teams to ask Ohio’s grocery stores to lift their purchasing limits on milk and dairy foods.

The bureau asks anyone who sees a store limiting the purchase quantity on milk to take a photo of the limit sign, note the location, date and time, and email it to Erin.Brown@Drink-Milk.com.

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