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Analyzing the Dairy Industry’s Imbalance Issue in USA

Demand for fluid milk continues to drop, forcing dairy farmers to dump milk, some of it winding up in the Milwaukee sewer system.

Food processing recently reported truckloads of milk were dumped into the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District because demand for fluid milk has fallen. Ninety percent of Wisconsin milk is made into cheese, but there’s a lack of cold storage facilities to handle the surplus.

The report said sewer district officials did not reveal how much milk was dumped or how long the dumping had been going on, but the amount likely was in the hundreds of thousands of gallons. A spokesman told reporters the dumping had declined to five truckloads a week, with each truck carrying as much as 7,000 gallons.

The milk had to be treated by Earth Environmental to bring the effluent up to Environmental Protection Agency standards before it could be released into Lake Michigan

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association called the dumping unfortunate. Association executive director John Umhoefer told WITI  the following:

“This is perfectly good milk. We do believe this will come to an end swiftly, but right now we are in an imbalance. It’s a shame.”

The dumping is not exclusive to Wisconsin.Wisconsin State Farmer  recently reported more than 60 members of Associated Milk Producers Inc. were told to dump their milk. The Association has members in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The report said it appeared the co-op was rotating which members were being told to dump their production.

Sarah Schmidt, AMPI vice president of marketing, said there are at least two factors involved: Schools are closed for the summer, and milk from outside the Upper Midwest is working its way into the region. Additionally, one creamery in Minnesota was ordered closed for 30 days to make repairs.

Wisconsin State Farmer reported that milk prices are much lower than anticipated. Wisconsin produces about 14% of U.S. total production, the second largest producer behind California.

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