Arizona farmers give back by donating milk to food banks

43 million gallons of milk have been dumped in fields across the country since the start of the year.

That's why many American farmers have been forced to do with lower milk prices not bringing in the cash to ship their products and make a profit.

Here in Arizona, the dairy council says, thankfully, that's not an issue all thanks to a co-op comprised of 90 percent of the farmers in this state.

"United Dairymen of Arizona really helps the dairy farmers in Arizona to make sure all of the milk that they produce... there's buyers for it," Terri Verason said.

Verason says this state's co-op ensures every drop goes to use, leading our farmers to have the resources to give back to the community.

"By the time you pay the house and the utilities and the car and the insurance, there isn't a lot left for groceries," she said.

Floyd Benedict is one of many reaping the benefits of a healthy Arizona dairy industry. Today, at St. Mary's Food Bank, he's taking home milk that isn't normally part of the deal.

Arizona farmers are donating 900 gallons here and 3,500 more to food banks across the state.

"A gallon of milk is a big deal," Jerry Brown said.

Jerry Brown with St. Mary's Food Bank says it's hard for food banks to give out perishable items before they spoil, which leaves milk to be one of the most requested, yet least donated items of food.

"Folks at the food bank that come to the food bank... about a gallon a year is what we can give to our recipients," he said.

The donation from Arizona farmers, who can afford to make it happen, means people like Floyd get to go home with a simple gallon of milk; that for many has become a luxury.