Dairy farmers forced to dump thousands of gallons of milk

The Coronavirus Pandemic has caused a lot of hardship for people across the country. Dairy farmers who are part of the essential workforce, are struggling as a clog in the distribution system forces them to dump their milk.

Posted: Apr 4, 2020 5:38 PM
Updated: Apr 5, 2020 9:30 AM

HOLLAND PATENT, N.Y. --- The Coronavirus Pandemic has caused a lot of hardship for people across the country. Dairy farmers who are part of the essential workforce, are struggling as a clog in the distribution system forces them to dump their milk.

The Finn family who own Finndale Farms in Holland Patent have been dumping milk into their manure pond for the past three days.

"We work hard to make the milk every day and we know there are people who need it, so it's really hard to watch," said Stephanie Finn.

Stephanie said that the reason for all of this is because distributors struggle to fill the shelves as processors are working at half speed because of COVID-19.

"Basically processors can't keep up with demand. That's why they're limiting people with how much they can buy. There's not a shortage of milk, there's actually a surplus." said Finn.

Walgreens in Holland Patent put up a sign limiting people to just 2 gallons of milk each because of a "shortage". But the situation on the farms is the opposite.

Travis Finn who owns the farm said that even though the farm is losing money making milk they cant sell, production must go on as cow milking physically can't stop.

"They have to be milked every day for their health. If we don't keep them milked on a normal time level, horrible health issues show up with your cattle," said Finn.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said in his briefing that he is well aware of the problem.

"The whole milk processing piece is pretty complex and we are working with our partners in Cornell that will hopefully have some communication that will alleviate all of this," said Picente.

Finn said the farm may need to get creative and make some cuts in order to get through this. But cutting staff he said will be the last thing he does.

"Our employees and their families are very important to us. That will be the last place we cut. We will look for other places to cut, places where we can cut costs for a short time, before we ever say we need to lay people off," said Finn.

The county is urging dairy farmers to keep track of their losses for possible reimbursement.

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County data is updated nightly.

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Reported Deaths: 34362
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