Utah Dairy Farmers Adapting To A Shift In Demand

Apr 8, 2020

All over the country, dairy farmers are being told they need to start dumping their milk despite milk flying off the shelves at the supermarkets.With more people staying at home, retail sales have spiked while food service has gone down. 

Kristi Spence is the senior vice president of marketing for Dairy West where she works with dairy farmers in Utah and Idaho. She said processing plants have had to adapt to these changed demands.

“So what we see happening is that at some plants across the country, they're having to cut or change their production schedules to meet this demand. And so if they have to cut production, because they don't have a home for the milk that's coming in, in terms of the products that they're producing, that may result in having to dispose of some milk," said Spence. "We have not seen that yet in Utah.”

Dairy West has been working with producers and processers to help redistribute products to help with the supply chain. Some ways they are combating the challenges the industry is facing right now is making sure schools have the proper coolers to distribute milk at school lunch pickups.

According to Spence, “we're also working to see if we can take some of that product that is not equipped for like the retail environment, let's say and get it into packaging processing facilities that can cut it and repackage it to to make it available to in the way that demand is looking for it. And then we're working really closely with food banks in both states to make sure that they have access to the products that they need, because in some cases, we've seen demand at the food bank up 70%.”

If milk dumping is needed, Dairy Producers of Utah would work with the Department of Environmental Quality to ensure it is handled appropriately.