A major shutdown of food services amid the coronavirus pandemic has caused grave issues for the dairy producers and the farmers. With restaurants, schools and various other businesses shut down due to COVID-19 fear, the demand for milk dairy produce has plunged considerably.
Dairy farmers in Wisconsin have been bearing with the devastating effects of the shutdown in the country. Farmers like Katie and Jim DiGangi have been working in agriculture for a long period of time. They said that farming has been the family’s legacy, but the pandemic has put a risk to all of their efforts.
Apparently, the Darlington Ridge Farms produces around 30,000 gallons of milk almost every day. However, it has been dumping about 12,000 to 15,000 gallons everyday as the food services have witnessed a major dip.
Jim DiGangi commented that it is unpleasant to dispose more than half of the produced milk that the farmers have worked extremely hard for. While dairy farmers have been dumping major amount of milk, the warehouses are filled up with cheese that has no demand and no place to go.
Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association’s executive director, John Umhoefer stated that about millions of pounds of cheese have not been sold as they have either received cancelled or lost order from food services.
Umhoefer further added that half of the butter, cheese and other dairy products are sent to the food-service industry in the United States. There are several farms in the country that only serve the food and service industry or even account for 50-75% of their sales, who have been discovering that all their orders have been cancelled in the food service sector.
CEO of Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, a 110-year old organization that has 300 dairy farms, said that it is not possible to take a certain type of cheese and convert into bottling plants as they do not own the equipment to bottle it. The company has two manufacturing plants as well as processed cheese plant.