New York Farmers Dispose of Unwanted Milk as COVID-19 Disrupts Dairy Sector

A dairy farm in Varysburg, New York, was forced to empty out its milk supplies due to the closure of restaurants, schools and foodservice businesses as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns.

In footage shared on April 5, Nikki Boxler said her family’s dairy farm, Boxler Dairy, had begun dumping milk as processing plants were full.

“There is no place for it to go,” she said in a post to social media.

She added that despite strong retail demand for dairy products, the need for wholesale dairy had rapidly declined. Farmers in several other US states also dumped their milk supplies when faced with the falling demand.

“The sudden shift from wholesale foodservice markets to retail stores has created a logistical and packaging nightmare for plants processing milk, butter, and cheese – to put this into perspective about half of consumers’ food budget was spent at restaurants – and it would take millions of dollars to switch a plant from producing for wholesale to producing for retail,” she said.

“Watching your hard work literally go down the drain is heart-wrenching – the wasted product represents our livelihood and the massive amount of hard work that takes place year-round to produce it.⁣”

Boxler said, due to the perishable nature of milk, the dairy industry was “hit harder and earlier than other agricultural commodities.⁣” Credit: Nikki Boxler via Storyful