SALEM, Ohio — A group of California dairy farmers is hoping a planned milk dump will gain steam across the United States and help to bring some relief to their bottom line.
John Gailey, manager for Milky Way Dairy, which milks 4,000 cattle in Visalia, Calif., is spearheading the effort, dubbed National Do Not Ship Milk Days.
“There are going to be a lot of dairy producers who just don’t survive this,” Gailey said referring to the low prices and high production costs being incurred by dairy farmers across the country.
The milk dump is planned for May 31 and June 1.
Gailey said the reason for those dates is so that the loss is spread over two milk checks. In addition, Sundays and Mondays are usually the days when milk is in highest demand at milk plants, which results in the most impact to the industry.
He added the group’s goal is to get at least 2 million milk cows involved in the dump.
Gailey said if the milk from that many cattle doesn’t make it into the system, the industry will definitely feel the impact.
He estimated the milk dump would remove 1 percent of the milk supply if dairy producers would participate fully. This would help to bring the supply and demand closer to the balance that is needed in the market place.
The event is different from other milk dumps because those participating are asked to let a dairyman from another participating dairy monitor where the milk goes that day.
One alternative the group is encouraging dairy farmers to do instead of wasting the milk is to use it for calves and heifers on the farm.
“We want this milk dump to be different than others in the past, we want the farms participating to allow neighbors to come on the property to monitor where the milk goes,” Gailey said.
Gailey said the California dairy farmers are relying on contacts across the country to get anyone who milks cattle involved.
The National Family Farms Coalition was aware of the milk dump but did not know whether any farms in the eastern portion of the country would participate.
The Farm and Dairy was unable to locate anyone in Ohio or Pennsylvania involved in or aware of the milk dump