Dumping of milk and effort

Any time you hear about a dairy farmer dumping their milk instead of having it sent off for processing, it is sad. All that time and effort on the part of the famers, their staff and their cows, just going down into the slurry pit. Just tragic, especially as people continue to try and get fresh milk supplies worldwide.

It is just such a tricky business. Large dairy processor Freshways apparently wasn’t collecting down in Kent, UK last week, leading to milk dumping on a farm that BBC’s Farming Today interviewed. But as the coffee shops and restaurant trade that Freshways largely supplies has shut down almost completely, where can the outlet for all that milk be?

Meanwhile, there are multiple reports in the US about milk dumping in several states. While the Irish Farmers Association has sought to reassure its farmers that the co-operatives are working at top speed to continue to collect milk from the farmgates.

Another issue is that of packaging. We took delivery of a tray of 30 eggs (we eat a lot of eggs and bake quite a bit), but it was a catering tray and not obviously set up for the local householder. A shortage of packaging is an issue. We kept our old egg cartons and packed the new eggs into them.

I suspect there will be a lot more of these stories, and there are already stories of other companies and people who will change their businesses because of this. There are a lot of local initiatives springing up to get the formerly wholesale products into the retail customers’ hands. I would get on Facebook and Twitter and see what’s available in your area, both for hot food delivery and for buying essentials like vegetables, milk and eggs. Or bread and cheese. Or even non-essentials such as cake. Which lately, to the detriment of my waistline, is beginning to feel like an essential.

It is a good way to support your local farms and suppliers, and perhaps keep a few businesses going. This will one day be over and we’ll want to go back out to eat in restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and diners, which are supplied by all these fine producers. It would be a shame if we allowed those businesses to wither because we can’t go out, if we can do our small part to help.

Stay safe, and wash your hands.

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