Indianapolis, I.N. – The Coronavirus pandemic has left the United States in an economic crisis. The pandemic has led to many states limiting restaurants to carry-out and delivery services, the closures of many schools, and the closures of any non-essential business. Amidst an ongoing economic crisis which has left 17 million Americans jobless and on unemployment, dairy farmers across the country have been forced to dump milk that could not be processed or sold.
Last week, Indiana farmer Brian Rexing was faced with the difficult decision of having to dispose of nearly 30,000 gallons of milk after realizing that there was nowhere to take the milk.
Rexing, who is the owner of New Generation Dairy in Owensville, Indiana explained, “When you can’t finish it and get it to market and see it in customers’ hands, that’s tough, that’s our livelihood”.
Other farms across the nation are facing the same challenges as Rexing is. Golden E Dairy farm in West Bend, Wisconsin has been faced with having to dump 25,000 gallons of fresh, unused milk a day for the past few weeks.
Ryan Elbe, the son of owners Chris and Tracey Elbe, explained, “We thought this would never happen,” adding that, “Everybody’s rushing to the grocery store to get food, and we have food that’s literally being dumped down the drain.”
With people heading to the grocery stores more often than usual to stock up on items such as toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and important food items you would think that there would be a demand for milk. There are a handful of reasons that you are seeing a decline in the need for milk right now.
The first reason is primarily because you have large quantities of milk being produced at the moment. In the spring, pastures tend to grow more rapidly and cows end up spending more time in the fields. In the end, the cows end up producing more milk than they did during the winter.
Due to this reason, you have an excess of milk right now. Milk that needs to be processed and moved quickly, due to expiration dates.
The second reason is in part due to grocery stores placing limits on items like eggs, milk, and toilet paper.
Another big reason comes from the closures of restaurants and schools – some of the major customers for the milk industry. Because school meal programs, and restaurants make up a large amount of the dairy industries business, the decrease in the need of dairy products for these places greatly affects the dairy farmers.
This situation is just another example of how the Coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected our country’s economy. At the beginning of this pandemic we saw customers panic buying products like, toilet paper, milk and sanitizer. This left many products unavailable to those in need of them. In a way it was great for businesses like dairy farms. In order to tackle the issue of bulk buying, President Donald Trump urged Americans to quit panic buying items.
To further tackle customers from overbuying products, grocery stores then set limits on certain products. Which is understandable. You don’t want a handful of customers to stock up on all of the toilet paper and milk and leave none available for the rest of your customers who might actually be in need of those products.
In order to tackle the issue of bulk buying, major retailers such as Wegmans, Walmart, and Texas based supermarket chain, H-E-B announced that they would be limiting purchases on several items. Items such as eggs, and milk are limited to two cases per person.
Products such as milk which have an expiration, and in which we have an abundance of at the moment should not have limits on them. In order to tackle this issue more states need to come out and prevent grocery retailers from placing limits on these items.