Manitoba dairy farmers looking to donate milk instead of dumping it
Dairy cows are shown in Manitoba on April 8, 2015.
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba dairy farmers are looking to donate more milk and dairy products to Winnipeg Harvest, due to a delay in demand from retailers.
Dairy farmers across Canada and the U.S. are struggling due to a drop in demand for dairy since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
One dairy farmer near Aylmer, Ont., told CTV News London that they have started dumping their oversupply of milk.
In Manitoba, dairy farmers say they have another plan to deal with the oversupply – donate it.
A Dairy Farmers of Manitoba spokesperson told CTV News there have been some delays in the supply chain for dairy, due to processers and retailers adjusting to the global pandemic of COVID-19.
"Just like all Canadians, dairy farmers are working on finding their way through this new situation we’re facing because of COVID-19," the spokesperson said in a written statement. "We’re not discarding raw milk in Manitoba."
While the demand for milk may be down right now, Dairy Farmers of Manitoba said the amount of milk being produced is not.
"A cow produces a certain amount of milk each day – and farmers must continue to milk them to keep them comfortable and well," the spokesperson said. "The last thing a dairy farmer wants to see is milk being discarded."
For the past 27 years, the Dairy Farmers of Manitoba have been donating milk to Winnipeg Harvest for food banks. In 2018-19, the spokesperson said dairy farmers donated 320,962 litres of milk.
But the process of donating the milk involves more than just dairy farmers. The milk needs to be processed and packaged into one-litre cartons and is also used to make cheese. Bulk milk hauling companies need to transport the milk.
Dairy Farmers of Manitoba said the processors and hauling companies do this at no charge during the donation process.
This year, dairy farmers are working with processors to see if they can increase the amount of milk donated to Winnipeg Harvest.