Three processors in Minnesota have stepped up to accept milk from 10 Minnesota farms whose milk buyer gave notice it would no longer take those farms’ milk after April.
The move came as Canada changed its pricing regarding ultra-filtered milk coming from the United States, which caused Canadian buyers to cancel their contracts with U.S. processors. In addition to Minnesota, farmers in Wisconsin and New York have also been affected.
The Minnesota Milk Producers Association worked as a facilitator to raise awareness and connect resources to help producers find a new home for their milk.
“We must thank the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, our state’s federal legislators and especially our processors, who were continuously monitoring milk levels to bring on any milk for which they could find room,” said Dave Buck, a Goodhue dairy producer who serves as Minnesota Milk’s chairman.
Lucas Sjostrom, executive director of Minnesota Milk, praised state officials and Sen. Al Franken, (D-Minn.), who worked on the issue.
“But most of all, we appreciate our processors for doing what they always do — look for a way to help add value to our state farmers’ milk.”
In Wisconsin, where 58 milk producers were affected when a Canadian company canceled a $100 million contract with Grassland Dairy, other processors are looking to help. Mullins Cheese, for example, added eight dairies. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) announced it would offer dairy farmers and processors better terms on loan guarantees from now until August.
In western New York, 360 dairy farmers are still waiting to see what changes happen as their processor O-AT-KA struggles to find buyers for the milk it had been selling in Canada. O-AT-KA is just one New York processor looking for ways to use excess milk.