Farmers across the nation are struggling with extra milk due to a lower demand from schools and restaurants. To prevent it from going to waste, free gallons were handed out Friday in both St Albans and Middlebury. Each carload received two free gallons of milk.
“It just speaks to the goodness of Vermont as in, they’re in need, we’re in need, and we help each other,” said Amanda St. Pierre, executive director of the Vermont Dairy Producers Alliance.
She says farmers around the state have so much extra milk right now because restaurants, schools, and other places they typically send it are closed. Farmers haven’t been able to move their product and in some cases, the milk has been forced to go to waste.
“Then we began dumping it into manure pits,” St. Pierre said. “It’s a really sad thing when you’re dumping a food product when people are going hungry or don’t have the financial means of getting milk at a store or get limited, its just a really sad situation.”
St. Pierre said it was frustrating to see people struggle to find milk when they were essentially stuck with excess of it. Farmers were then able to work with a dairy co-op to re-purpose some of the milk.
Dairy farmers of America processed more than 4,000 gallons of milk to give away at both locations. All of that milk came from Vermont dairy farmers struggling with extra supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That’s what we’re really seeing,” St. Pierre said. “That there is a need, we’ve got to figure out our infrastructure and that farms are wanted and needed in Vermont.”
Any milk leftover from the two drive up events will be donated to local food shelves.