Farmers forced to dump milk; processing plants full

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LITCHFIELD, Mich. -- Milk processors are a capacity, so fresh cow's milk is being poured into state approved disposal site and the scene is being repeated more places than just Hillsdale County.

Scott Ferry, owner of Ferry Farms in Litchfield, Mich., said the overproduction is the result of milk production rising faster than planned.

"Our family, our employees and our cows work so hard every single day, 365 days a year," said Ferry, "and to make a decision to do this, the picture that you saw (of milk being dumped) is one of the hardest things that we have ever had to do."

Ferry isn't pointing an fingers. Instead, he is the situation as a "perfect storm," with great conditions for the cows and milk production up seven percent over last year.

"With milk production being up, plus Michigan is a phenomenal place to milk cows because we've got great weather, we've got great season, changing seasons, and we had access to clean fresh water," said Ferry. He also credited healthy cows and hard-working farmers working around the clock.

Milk processing plants are operating at 20 percent over capacity.

It's not just an issue in Michigan. Ferry said that dumping of cow's milk is also happening throughout the eastern United States.

Milk products from Ferry's farm travel as far away as China. In order to limit the amount of waste, he's considering all his options, including shipping the milk out of state to be processed.

"We have to move milk outside the borders of our own state," said Ferry. "Exporting milk is extremely important in our industry, not only outside of our state, but outside of our country."

Dumping out unpasteurized milk isn't exactly new. Ferry said that his great grandfather also had to dump out what he couldn't sell to the local creamery all the way back in 1906.

"There are fewer and fewer farmers every single day, but we have a lot of mouths to feed and a growing population," said Ferry.

As for a solution, Ferry is open to waiting to see how milk processing companies respond to the issue so the dumping doesn't have to continue.

He hopes that "every family in Michigan will maybe take a minute and buy an extra gallon of milk this week or eat a little bit more cheese or butter, yogurt," said Ferry.

Ferry also said that with school letting out in the next week, that means fewer milk orders for millions of students across the country, which will also increase supply.

There is good news for the consumer, however: greater supply means lower prices, Ferry said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

36 comments

  • mrsc

    To the dairy farmers we would buy more milk if it were cheaper. We have had to cut our consumption of milk due to higher prices.

    • Eileencgress

      It’s not the dairy farmers that set milk prices…they get paid pennies per gallon. It’s the processors and the Class III milk prices that set prices for milk.

  • Velva Vis Yonker

    Why not have the processing plants donate it to homeless shelters, especially where there are children; or other places that serve those who are suffering from poverty and lack the ability to purchase milk?

    • Eileencgress

      It’s actually that the plants don’t have the space to store the milk. If they had the room to process and store it, there wouldn’t be a surplus of milk.

  • stacy

    I feel these plants and farmers should be donating that milk instead of wasting it. Are you kidding me dumping all that this is very sad. So many people could benefit from it like home less shelters food banks that help people out. I mean they are wasting it then our cost goes up I mean we already pay way to much for milk now.

    • John

      Read the article. Processing plants are 20% over capacity. What would you like them to donate…un pasteurized milk? There is nothing to donate until it gets processed and the processing portion is where the bottleneck is. The article does a poor job making it seem like there is no demand after it gets processed and that in fact is not the case. Also, one dairy farmer in Hillsdale Michigan dumping milk is not going to cause your prices to go up at the store. He is a small piece of a very large puzzle.

      • Common Sense

        Yes, donating milk unpasturized is the solution. Pus is Pus no matter if the milk is pasterized or not. There is no need to waste the milk. If they have too much milk then they need to upgrade their facility or cut back on raping these cows.

        • John

          Ok, donate it. Who is going to process it? For having a name like common sense you seem to be lacking in that department. The problem is they cannot process it. Unpasteurized*(check your spelling) milk has an extremely short shelf life. So yes, donate to a plant that cant process it, I will let you drink the unpasteurized stuff. Raping cows? Get out of here troll, you clearly haven’t been on a dairy farm lately. Those cows are treated better than most humans. Some dairy’s even have no running, screaming, shouting policies so the cows are not startled and completely comfortable at all times. Get off the internet and get out into the real world.

          • korey

            From what I hear on the farm here in NY, the processors are not at capacity, rather they take off the entire week of pre-Christmas through new years and the plant sits useless, and thus they dump. They still buy the milk from the farmers, because they are under contract to do so, it just gets dumped afterward. It’s a backwards system it seems.

    • Kyle

      How do you know what “paying way to much” is? Right now I’m getting barely enough to cover my expenses to make the milk. There is a cost to make milk you know, and the bad part is as farmer we have nothing to do with it, we take whatever they will give us for it and right now I’m having a tuff time paying bills.

  • Roger

    To the people saying to donate it to homeless shelters. The milk has to be processed and no facility has room to process any more milk.

    To the dairy farmers. You expanded far too much without any thought to if there is processing and demand for your product. Just dumb.

    It would be like the auto manufacturers expanding production and then parking thousands of unsold cars in fields. Smart business managers just don’t do that.

  • Jake from State Farm

    Dumping milk while the camera rolls. Load the rest on the tanker that is there when the news crew leaves.

  • doodles

    its the processing company who is at fault. The price of all dairy products has increased so the consumer is not buying the milk cheese or other products made from milk. once again it goes back to greed. heaven help America we need a price freeze to help the consumer out

  • Madison

    Make sure you know, and understand this topic before you comment blaming farmers for this.
    Would you take water from a lake, put in a bottle and donate it as drinking water? No.

    • Bonnie

      So true! It is carcinogenic, full of fat, hormones and cholesterol and who needs milk from another species? NOBODY!

      • Roger

        Thank you for posting a lie filled post. Every time a vegan does that it means that many people will not become vegans because they will see that vegans have to lie to try get get converts.

  • JBC DAIRY RECYCLING

    No need to dump your hard earned milk. JBC DAIRY RECYCLING will not only pick up your extra milk, but will give you $$

  • anna

    people, wake up! stop drinking this antibiotic, steroid, puss-filled shit and you won’t read news like this for much longer.

    • Roger

      Milk does not have antibiotics in it. Every load of milk is tested for antibiotics before it is unloaded at the plant.

  • Angry Vegan

    COWS ARE REPEATEDLY INSAMINATED (say raped automatically and violently) TO MAKE CALVES IN ORDER TO PRODUCE MILK FOR THEIR CALVES, THAT WILL BE TAKEN FROM HER SO HUMANS GET TO TH. MILK… CALVES ARE SEND TO SLAUGHTERHOUSE AFTER A FEW MONTHS OF ARTIFICIAL MILK AND ANTIBIOTICS AND OFTEN KILLED MANUALLY WITH SLEDGE HAMMER (not with one hit) AND OFTEN PLUNGED ALIVE IN BOILING WATER TO INSURE A PINK MEAT… FOR THE YOUNGER CUSTOMERS… SHAME ON THE HUMAN RACE… SHAME ON THE LYING MEAT/DAIRY INDUSTRY. I AM AN ANGRY FULL VEGAN FOR MANY YEARS AND FEEL VERY FIT AND SLENDER … LOOK AT THE AVERAGE FULL FAT MEAT EATER… DISGUSTING AMERICA…

    • John

      I honestly hope you don’t believe anything that you just said. Do you believe everything you read on the internet? Another misinformed consumer.

    • Nicole

      Have you ever been to a dairy farm angry vegan?? That is not how it is at all…Please get your facts straight before you try to preach to others. ‘Insaminated’ is not a word. Dairymen and beef producers have to follow strict regulations and meet certain standards before anything can get processed for human consumption. They are required to pass inspection on a regular basis from a state inspector. Farmers try their hardest to keep their cows happy and comfortable at all times. The less stress put on animals, the better.

      Advice to you…Life is too short to be angry!

    • Roger

      Thank you for posting a lie filled post. Every time a vegan does that it means that many people will not become vegans because they will see that vegans have to lie to try get get converts.

    • Dustin

      What do you propose we replace milk with? Raw milk is the one naturally occurring food in the world by which a human can survive. There is no equal replacement, and every close option that exists is processed and added to it to the point where it’s actually more unhealthy then healthy. Not to mention, there are HUGE health benefits to good raw milk. It’s also kind of sad that you’re openly rooting for thousands of people to be added to the unemployment lines in this country that are all ready backed up round the block. I’m also willing to bet you have no idea how many hundreds of millions of dollars farmers spend on feed, equipment, cow care and comfort, take away those dollars and taxes and the number of folks financially impacted is 10 fold….it would do you a lot of good to inform yourself with at least a few facts first next time.

  • Joel Curtis

    When the government gave milk to the poor so children would not go hungry and the system was in place to handle the volume. Now you give them money and they buy a poor substitute like soda pop