Earlier this month, Dean Foods sent notice to 100 dairies stating that they will no longer be purchasing milk from those producers. The letter, sent to farmers in eight states, notified producers that as of June 1, 2018, they will need to find another avenue to sell their milk. In Indiana, 27 dairy farmers received this letter.
“The dairy industry already had a lot on its plate in dealing with low milk prices,” said Randy Kron, Indiana Farm Bureau president. “Now, unfortunately, these Indiana farmers have the added task of finding a new buyer.”
INFB has a representative on the American Farm Bureau’s farm bill working group in Washington, D.C. The group suggested many fixes for the next farm bill in order to aid the dairy industry, but the farm bill legislation has yet to move. National lawmakers included provisions to assist the dairy industry in the most recent continuing resolution. However, these protections are hardly relevant to the affected farmers until they find a new buyer.
Dean Foods’ statement said their decision was based on an oversupply of milk in the market. Public consumption of fluid milk is down and the competition in milk processing has increased. This combination of events has hit family farms in Indiana hard.
The best way to help alleviate the burden on dairies right now is to keep buying milk and buy more of it if your situation allows. INFB staff will continue to monitor the dairy situation as well as other stressful economic conditions across the ag sector.