Udder chaos

by | Apr 17, 2020

Dairy farmers have faced a crash in milk prices amid the coronavirus pandemic in the last month when restaurants, workplaces, and schools shuttered across the country. The sudden shift in demand means that dairy farms across the country have an excess of milk.

Many dairy operations have literally been dumping their cows’ milk as the initial splash of at-home consumption has tapered off and the restaurant industry has nearly disappeared.

Don’t cry over spilled milk: Between 2.7 million and 3.7 million gallons of US milk could be dumped per day as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the Dairy Farmers of America estimated. But farmers can’t just stop milking their cows.

“You can’t shut down cows. You can’t turn them off like a faucet,” said Zoey Nelson, a sixth-generation dairy farmer in Waupaca, Wisconsin. “Just to see it literally going down the drain — it’s devastating.”

A possible solution? Cheesier pizzas. Dairy Farmers of America is working with food brands to try to increase their use of dairy products. If pizza makers add more cheese to their pizzas, they could help provide a new home for excess milk. It’s a win-win.

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