From Kristen Coady, vice president, corporate communications, Dairy Farmers of America
“In this ever-changing situation, our number one priority remains the safety and well-being of our farm families and employees.
We are diligently working to ensure our farm families’ milk continues to be picked up, our plants continue to operate, and we continue to provide consumers and communities with wholesome dairy products during this difficult time.
With the uncertainty of COVID-19 and evolving consumer buying habits, we are seeing demand for dairy products change. While we initially saw increased demand at grocery stores as consumers stocked up on many products, like dairy, in anticipation of potential quarantines and shelter-in-place orders, the retail demand is starting to level off. For this reason, we anticipate that milk will be more readily available at grocery stores in the coming weeks. Also, during this time, we’ve seen reduced needs in the foodservice sector with school and restaurant closures, which has resulted in an overall surplus of milk.
These sudden changes in demand, are resulting in uncertainty, and are forcing some dairy manufacturers to cut or change production schedules or build inventories. Due to the excess milk and plants already operating at capacity, there is more milk right now than space available in processing plants. This, in combination with the perishable nature of our product, has resulted in a need to dispose of raw milk on farms, in some circumstances.
We continue to work with our customers to explore additional options to retain as much value from our farm families’ milk as possible and to exhaust all possible avenues to find a home for their milk.”