TCPalm: Coronavirus curdles dairy supply chain, forcing Florida farmers to dump excess milk

Article Posted on April 9, 2020

By Lindsey Leake

Florida dairy farmers collectively have spewed enough milk into grassy fields and down industrial drains in the past week to overflow an Olympic-size swimming pool.  

About 70 farms began dumping excess milk April 1 — 135 tankers totaling 810,000 gallons — according to Joe Wright of V&W Farms in Avon Park.

That's because schools are closed. Theme parks are shuttered. Restaurant dining rooms are empty. The COVID-19 pandemic has all but obliterated institutional milk sales, said Wright, who has been president of Southeast Milk, Inc., a Belleview-based cooperative serving six Southern states, for the past 23 years.

“It's heartbreaking … we’re getting calls from food banks. There is a need for milk,” Wright said. “The fact that grocery stores are still limiting the purchases when we’re pouring it down the drain — there’s just a disconnect there.”

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