Nearly all Wisconsin and Minnesota producers whose existing marketing contracts were terminated on May 1 have collectively breathed a sigh of relief: There’s a home for their milk, at least temporarily.
Read: Milk with no home: Producers, processor face challenging times
Minnesota Milk Producers Association (Minnesota Milk) executive director, Lucas Sjostrom, said three processors in the state had stepped up to accept milk from 10 farmers who had received termination notices from Grassland Dairy on April 1.
“We must thank the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, our state’s federal legislators and especially our processors, who were continuously monitoring milk levels to bring on any milk for which they could find room,” said Dave Buck, a Goodhue dairy producer who serves as Minnesota Milk’s chairman.
In Wisconsin, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Ben Brancel said “99 percent of the milk has found a home.”
“Thank you to the dairy processors and milk handlers who have stepped up to help our Wisconsin dairy farm families,” Brancel said. “I appreciate you making arrangements, if only for the short-term, to give these farms the opportunity to continue farming and make plans for the future. We understand the huge amount of work that had to be done to locate capacity, arrange transportation and complete contracts quickly.
“I have said, and will continue to say, that the Wisconsin dairy industry is a family, and family looks out for each other,” Brancel continued. “This past month has shown how our dairy family can come together in challenging times to accomplish great things. I am truly thankful for the efforts of the farmers, processors, milk handlers, lenders, agricultural organizations and our government partners. You are and always will be part of my family.”
Wisconsin-based Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative (DBMMC) and Dairy Business Association issued a statement, saying dozens of the state’s dairy farmers were relieved to find milk buyers after a month of intense worry. Twenty-three of those farmers were DBMMC members. Read: Search continues for available milk markets, solutions for orphaned milk
“Many dairy organizations, individuals and state agriculture officials aggressively worked together and with the farmers to help resolve the immediate crisis,” according to the statement. “The resiliency of our farmers, the response from processors and cooperatives, and the resolve of the greater dairy community was on full display.”
The DBMMC/DBA statement emphasized some of the agreements are short-term. It said many concerns remain – from in-state processing capacity to international trade policies – requiring careful examination, creative thinking and collaborative involvement.
“Now, although we have paused to catch our breath, we must not settle back and simply hope for the best going forward,” the statement said. “It is critical we maintain an intense focus and pursue solutions that will prevent similar emergencies from happening again.”
- Progressive Dairyman
- Email Dave Natzke