How the COVID crisis is impacting the dairy industry


CATTARAUGUS COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)–While some stores are still limiting customers to two gallons of milk, some dairy farmers have had to waste excess milk before it even leaves the farm.

One local dairy farmer wants to get a message out.

At Elton Crest Dairy Farm in the Cattaraugus County Town of Freedom, Dustin Bliss has not had to dump any milk but with images of that happening to other farms, he wants everyone to know this.

“Dairy products are still safe. Milk is not bring dumped because it’s being infected with a virus. Milk is being dumped because of a shortage of processing capacity in this country.”

Although these dairy farms are putting out safe raw milk every day, they’re often sent to processing plants that are only set up to put milk and cheese in huge packages for cruise ships or restaurants which are not doing much or any business right now.

The reality is that while the demand for large dairy packages is way down, demand for smaller grocery sized packages are way up.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a bill today that would forgive the debt of small and medium sized farms with Farm Service Agency loans.

Dustin says that will help dine farmers but not all.

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

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