New York Farmers Forced to Dump Milk Due to Coronavirus
Farmers in the Hudson Valley and across the state are being forced to dump milk, despite milk flying off grocery store shelves.
On Saturday, Albert Buckbee, the owner and operator of Bellvale Farms in Warwick, was forced to dump over 600 gallons of fresh milk due to COVID-19, according to a video posted to Facebook.
According to Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, many farmers in Orange County have been forced to milk their cows and dump the milk because of the supply and demand issues with COVID-19.
"That becomes a very fluid situation, depending on supply and demand. Keep them in the back of your mind when making your purchases. Some of them are even starting to sell locally," Neuhaus said in a COVID-19 update video posted to Facebook.
Some will be able to process their milk on Tuesday, Neuhaus notes.
Schools, restaurants and other food businesses are a large part of a dairy farmer's business, according to CBS 6 in Albany. Those are all now closed, leaving farmers with fewer options to sell milk.
The farmers don't have the option of shutting down because the cows still must be fed and milked daily.
"Watching your hard work literally go down the drain is heart wrenching - the wasted product represents our livelihood and the massive amount of hard work that takes place year round to produce it," Nikki Boxler of Boxler Maple Farm in New York wrote on Facebook. "We got the dreaded call to start dumping milk because processing plants are full and there is no place for it to go due to the closure of restaurants, schools, and food service businesses. It is predicted that even more farmers will be asked to dump milk in the coming weeks."
It would take millions of dollars to switch a plant from producing milk for wholesale to producing it retail, according to Boxler.