Since the Safer-at-Home order, Wisconsin dairy farmers, processors, and communities have joined forces to provide more than 10 million pounds of milk (more than 1.2 million gallons of milk) to the state’s growing numbers of underfed and unemployed.
Two partnerships involving the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) innovated ways to move the oversupply of dairy products to food pantries and pay farmers and processors for the work.
The COVID-19 crisis mandated the closing of more than 500,000 U.S. restaurants, which cut off about half of the state’s market for its nutritious dairy products.
Our first partnership with the Hunger Task Force in the Milwaukee area and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) eased that pain by moving over a quarter million pounds of milk per week – and that amount is growing by the day. Using donations, the Hunger Task Force bought the milk to distribute to partner food banks and food pantries. The unemployed and underfed received nutritious food, and the farmers and processors were paid.
DFW expects the amount of milk and other dairy products going to Milwaukee area food pantries to increase as we engage more processors, and the Hunger Task Force secures additional donations and federal money to buy more of our milk.
DFW’s second partnership, announced last week, brings together the Rural Mutual Insurance Company, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and DATCP. These organizations established the Wisconsin Food and Farm Support Fund to raise money for non-profits that can help Wisconsinites during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Rural Mutual Insurance will focus on collecting funds for Feeding Wisconsin, the statewide association of the Feeding America food banks that sources, warehouses, and provides food to over 750 affiliated agencies and 1,000 local food programs throughout the state.
- Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation will focus on collecting funds and creating awareness for Harvest of Hope, which provides financial help to Wisconsin farm families in times of need.
DFW continues to connect processors to resources who can provide movement/consumption of milk and other Wisconsin agriculture products to ensure farmers continue to have a place to sell their products, and provide Wisconsinites access to these nutritious, high-quality products.
Provided by Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin