Dairy industry media outlet Dairy Herd reported this week that 338 dairy farms in Wisconsin, the second biggest dairy-producing state in the United States after California, have ceased operations thus far this year—a 30-percent increase from the same time period last year. In May, international dairy company Arla Foods announced that it would end its contracts with 11 milk suppliers in the state, citing “increased production and market volatility” in the dairy industry as the reasons behind its decision. Outside of Wisconsin, Dean Foods ended dozens of contracts with dairy farmers in Pennsylvania this May, and milk-processing company Marcus Dairy did not renew its contracts with 52 dairy suppliers in New York in June, forcing many of them to cease operations. To minimize its risk in the fledgling dairy industry, Dean Foods has pivoted toward plant-based brands by becoming the majority shareholder of flax milk-based company Good Karma Foods last month. While some have blamed the launch of Walmart’s consolidated dairy processing operations for the downfall of the American dairy industry, a report released this month by animal-feed supplier Cargill revealed that global milk consumption has been in a steady decline for more than one decade, plummeting by 22 percent between 2006 and 2016.
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