Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick sent a letter to Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson on Tuesday, outlining numerous challenges the dairy industry is facing due to the Coronavirus outbreak and calling for much needed relief at the local processor and retail level.
“The dairy industry was expecting this year to be a great one due to expanded export opportunities and strong growth in the domestic market,” McCormick said. “Unfortunately, the Coronavirus outbreak has taken away those opportunities. There are quite a few stories of farmers discarding milk due to an oversupply. In an effort to aid the situation, my staff and I have participated in several conference calls with the American Farm Bureau Federation and major retailers at the national level.”
In his letter, McCormick asked Gipson to make all retail stores aware that there is no need to implement a purchase limitation on fluid milk at this point, as well as asking the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce to make contact with local processors to determine why loads of Mississippi milk was discarded.
“First, the dairy industry would ask that you help to ensure that purchase limits of fluid milk is no longer implemented at the local retail level,” the letter stated. “Initially, because of a major surge in demand and an uneasy customer base, many retailers implemented a policy of certain high demand products, such as milk and other items. According to industry officials, purchase limits no longer make sense. It is my understanding that in many instances, limiting quantities per purchase is not a corporate decision, but maybe left to the discretion of the individual locations. Therefore, we request that you utilize your office to assist the dairy industry with efforts to inform local retailers that there is no need to limit purchases of fluid milk.”
“To illustrate the fact that there is no shortage of milk, it is my understanding that there were truckloads of milk produced by Mississippi farmers that were discarded this past weekend due to this oversupply in the state,” McCormick continued in the letter. “Per federal milk marketing orders, processors are allowed to pull milk from other areas of the country (in this situation from Illinois) to meet demand. Unfortunately, Mississippi milk was discarded in this situation this past week over milk from other states. Our dairy farmers ask that you contact our local processors to request why these loads of Mississippi milk were discarded.”
To view the entire letter, click here.