'Deep Trouble' For Arizona Dairy Industry As Demand For Milk Drops 50%

By Holliday Moore
Published: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 8:33am

Shortly after the coronavirus locked down schools and restaurants, the dairy industry estimated it began dumping nearly 4 million gallons of milk each day from excess supply.

Mark Killian with Arizona's Agriculture Department said it's the same here in Arizona where demand for milk has dropped 50% since the shutdown.

"We have dairymen in this state that are in deep trouble. I mean real trouble," Killian said.

And, Arizona's farmers tending to crops, he added, "are growing produce that they've had to just let sit in the field. It has impacted us."

Part of the problem, Killian explained, is farmers are taking the hit where grocery stores are now the chief channel for distributing the mounting inventory of dairy, produce and meat.

"We've suggested that the grocery stores should pick up the slack on those products and do some discounting to move it through the grocery chains. I think people would appreciate lower prices on those things, but that just hasn't happened," said Killian.

Prior to the shutdown, the U.S. Farm Bureau reports farmers were already struggling to survive U.S. tariffs, extreme weather and unstable commodity prices.

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