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Sandia dairy farmer trying to keep from dumping milk down drain

Posted at 8:24 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 01:06:13-04

SANDIA, Texas — Dairy farmers across the country are struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic, and they've started to pour hundreds of gallons of milk down the drain.

Dairy farmers are dumping their product down the drains as the institutional demand for the nutritional substance declines across the country. A local dairy farmer is hoping to avoid that fate.

“Our restaurants and schools we lost that," said Joe Knolle, a dairy farmer in Sandia, TX.

And yet, grocery stores limiting the amount of milk shoppers can buy per household, would have you thinking milk is in high demand and short supply, but Knolle says that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Diary products aren’t being produced for restaurants and schools as they remain closed.

“Think about the little packets of butter or a 25 pound of package of sour cream,” said Knolle. He says that is causing processing plants that manufacture those items to sit idle.

Meanwhile, the plants that process the gallons and half gallons of milk sold at grocery stores are constantly running.

“It’s going 24/7,” said Knolle.

He says those kinds of processing plants are trying to catch up with the amount of milk they’re getting from farmers, that need to be pasteurize.

“We’re anticipating somewhere between a 30 to 40 percent in reduction in value for what we’re loading on this trailer right now," said Knolle.

Dairy farms are limited in how much milk they can sell at full price. Any extra milk they make, runs the risk of being sold to the processing plants for a lot less money.

"I mean it could be a dollar or two per 100 weight so that’s just absolutely nothing," said Knolle. "I mean it's not even worth putting wheels underneath it.”

Since March, Knolle says he’s pulled back on how much milk his farm is producing and hopes he won’t have to begin dumping any time soon.