According to stock market media outlet Market Watch, surplus dairy in the US is at an all-time high. Currently, the US has 800 million pounds of cheese and 272 million pounds of butter in reserve—the highest amounts since 1984 and 1994, respectively. When it comes to milk, Market Watch reports that this year, dairy farmers in the Midwest and Northeast alone have dumped 78 million gallons of milk—up 86 percent from last year’s purge. The dairy industry has struggled to resolve the problem in several ways, including funding studies aimed at disproving the negative health risks associated with animal-derived milk in hopes of increasing consumption. Newly appointed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has also taken action by pushing more milk—in the form of sugar-laden strawberry and chocolate flavors—back into the National School Lunch Program. Mark Stephenson, Director of the Center for Dairy Profitability at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, advised that farmers do not expand the size of their herds. “That’s something we don’t want or need.” While dairy consumption has dropped significantly in recent years, the plant-based milk industry is predicted to soar to $35 billion by 2024—which has enticed large corporations such as Danone, General Mills, and Dean Foods to expand their portfolios with more plant-based brands.
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