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Farming

News, Blogs, and Information about farming in the Chippewa Valley.

Why farmers are dumping milk – and how consumers can help

Kara O'Connor

Wisconsin Farmers Union has received a number of inquiries from concerned consumers along the lines of, "Can't farmers do something with the milk other than dump it?  Why are farmers disposing of milk when I'm being limited on milk purchases at the store?"  

This situation is indeed troubling. It is heartbreaking for farmers to have to dispose of their milk like this.

Wisconsin Farmers Union Sets 2020 Policy Priorities

Photo - Wisconsin Farmers Union members lined up for a chance to share their insights during the grassroots policy discussion at the 89th WFU State Convention Jan. 31-Feb. 2 in Rothschild. At the mic is District 3 Director Ed Gorell of Eleva. 

Wisconsin Farmers Union on Pfaff firing

Wisconsin Farmers Union appreciates Brad Pfaff's long-time commitment to family farmers, and we are disappointed in the dysfunction witnessed on the Senate floor today.

Senate fires DATCP secretary nominee Pfaff

Brad Pfaff

Today Governor Tony Evers celebrated his 68th birthday sitting in the Senate chamber and watching his nominee for DATCP Secretary go down in flames. The Senate spent much of the day debating rules and jockeying for power over what testimony would be allowed in the discussion about Secretary-Elect Pfaff. 

Putting the people above the politics

Darin Van Ruden

Recent developments in Madison have threatened livestock siting rule changes, leaving our water and rural communities at risk.

New Livestock Siting Rules and DATCP head dead in water

Brad Pfaff

There was some hope that when Governor Evers took office there would be progress on some of the state-wide issues that have been sitting moribund in the legislature. At least on the agricultural front, it appears that the GOP is ensuring little progress. 

How To Smell A CAFO

Smell Sensors

Russ Hanson is determined to live a better retirement than his in-laws did. For him that means steering clear of the odors that can accompany large livestock farms.

What Is Wisconsin's Right-To-Farm Law And Who Does It Protect?

Farm

Daily life for many Wisconsinites is permeated with the sights, sounds and smells of agriculture. But as a growing number of livestock farms in Wisconsin expand to massive sizes, sometimes housing thousands of animals in relatively close quarters, the sensations these farms arouse among their neighbors can lead to intense personal conflicts.

New Season of Around The Farm Table starts tonight

Around the Farm Table

The next season of Around the Farm Table with Inga Witscher starts tonight. If you tune in you will be happy to see that local fruit grower Mary Dirty Face Farm is one of the local farmers Inga visits tonight. 7:30 PM tonight on WPT.

Why Homegrown Garlic Is Best Planted In Autumn

Ed. Note - I am at the moment getting ready to plant the garlic at Cruiskeen Lawn Farm

When most of Wisconsin's farmers are focused on harvesting the season's corn, potatoes and cranberries, some of them — along with a good many home gardeners — are already preparing to plant one crop that won't be ready to pick until the following summer: garlic.

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    Wisconsin Farmers Union has received a number of inquiries from concerned consumers along the lines of, "Can't farmers do something with the milk other than dump it?  Why are farmers disposing of milk when I'm being limited on milk purchases at the store?"  

    This situation is indeed troubling. It is heartbreaking for farmers to have to dispose of their milk like this.

    The reason this is happening right now is that many of the largest institutional buyers of dairy products, including schools and restaurants, abruptly closed nationwide -- and they, in turn, abruptly cancelled orders that they had placed with cheese plants and milk bottlers. Since most dairy products are perishable, dairy processors can only store a limited amount of product that they don't have a buyer for. Once their storage is full, they start turning away farmers' milk from the plant because they have nowhere to put the finished product.

    Farmers Union and other advocacy groups have urged the USDA to step in and buy surplus dairy products for distribution to food pantries, etc.  We are hopeful that this will happen soon, and begin to relieve the current kink in the dairy supply chain.

    The other thing that will hopefully happen, but this will take a bit more time, is for dairy products that were originally destined for restaurants to be re-packaged for retail sale. People are buying less food at restaurants right now, but they are buying more food at grocery stores. Unfortunately, it will take some time for food processors to make that conversion.  A cheese plant that normally produces unbranded 50-pound bags of mozzarella cheese for restaurants cannot instantaneously convert its production line to make branded 16-ounce packages of cheese for grocery stores. Hopefully business owners will get creative and start coming up with new ways to meet consumer demand for dairy products outside of the restaurant supply chain.

    There is one other important action that Congress could take. For many years, WFU has urged Congress to create a mechanism that would give farmers the economic incentive to balance their milk production with market demand, so that farmers never find themselves in the terrible situation of having to dispose of milk that doesn't have a home. This current circumstance really drives home the need for balancing dairy supply and demand. While nothing could have entirely insulated the dairy industry from the impact of the global pandemic, farmers would be far better off in this moment if we had a program in place to help them quickly adjust their production in...

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