Letter: Amid Widespread Shortages, Farmers are Forced to Dump Scarce Goods

I read an article in The Day by Amanda Hutchinson “Farmers face volatile times amid restaurant closures, grocery shortages.”  The next day, I was visiting a friend that is a production dairy farmer.  He said milk co-op he sells to had to dump eight tractor trailer loads of milk so far.

He said dairy purchaser Guida’s in New Britain has rejected a bunch of loads. There’s nothing wrong with the milk — its just with all the schools and restaurants closed no one is buying as much milk and the processors are out of storage.

Meanwhile headlines warn of widespread food shortages and at the grocery store the other day they were limiting shoppers to two dairy products per customer as though there already is a dairy shortage. Food banks are facing higher than ever demand and meanwhile tens of thousands of gallons of high quality milk are dumped.

A simple wrinkle comprised of logistics, information, and policy will lead to waste, hunger, and extreme hardship for already overworked (and most of them over-old) farmers.

My message to the region’s newspaper: You’re holding the iron, fire that baby up. Use it.

The dairy farmers are the foundation of the agricultural system in CT, which provides food security that few will appreciate until we face a real food shortage someday.

Federal Agricultural Policy has to be modified to iron these inefficiencies and weaknesses out.  I’ve got the vision of exactly what needs to be done to policy and I know where to get the money to implement it; the money will come from pollution reduction in Long Island Sound.  

I believe with experienced Ag leaders like Commissioner of Agriculture Bryan Hurlburt, head of CT Farm Bureau Joan Nichols, and UConn policy leader Bonnier Burr we could fix the problem, but only if the newspaper first brings the problem into the public light for discussion.

Kevin Blacker
Noank

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