TEMPE, Ariz. - COVID-19 is now impacting an essential staple at grocery stores as dairy farmers in Arizona are dumping milk due to a market slowdown.
FOX 10 spoke to a dairy farmer who says about 125,000 gallons of milk are being dumped each day.
Video of milk being dumped at a waste treatment facility at Craig Caballero’s Dairy in Eloy is a sign of the times. This is something dairy farmers say is far from normal practice.
The United Dairymen of Arizona says 2020 started out with a positive outlook, but panic buying of groceries caused stores to put limits on milk as they took more time to restock food.
“A million pounds of milk right now is being dumped because we don’t have a home for it,” says Bill Kerr, Arizona Milk Producers Chairman.
Stores are also limiting how many gallons of milk people can buy so the supply doesn't run short for other customers. However, dairy industry officials say this should not be the case.
In a statement from Arizona Milk Producers, they say, "Grocery stores should have lifted purchasing limits but if you see a store that still has signs up, please snap a picture and DM us so we can work to rectify the situation."
“The grocery stores also are pretty much overwhelmed i mean everybody is just running on fumes because they’ve just been so overworked trying to keep the shelves stocked,” Kerr said.
COVID-19 has slowed down restaurants and hotels, meanwhile school is out of session. That's less destinations for milk, now going down the drain.
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“You’ll drive by a couple of semi trucks going down the road [with] milk ... about every seven of [the] trucks, one out of every seven of them trucks used to go overseas, now our overseas market is gone so now we have a whole truckload of milk that we don’t know what to do with and then let’s throw another thing on there another truck load going down the road that used to go to our schools so now we have two truckloads out of every seven that we don’t have anywhere to go ...," Kerr explained.
Because of this, farmers are asking for extra support, hoping people buy an extra gallon or two.
“We have so much milk that doesn’t have nowhere to go so we’re dumping it down the drain,” he said.