Local farmers losing milk contracts with Dean Dairy - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Local farmers losing milk contracts with Dean Dairy

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One hundred dairy farmers across eight states are now looking for a new buyer for their milk after a major milk processor cancels their contacts.

Some of those farmers are from our area and they aren't sure whether they will be able to keep farming as a result.

Cathy Heim is a fifth-generation farmer from Stoneboro, PA. 

For years they've sold their raw milk from their small family farm of 35 or so cows to Dean Dairy.

But this week they were sent a letter from Dean Foods saying they were being dropped from their producer's list.

"Basically, they just said we can't take your milk. If other dairy's don't watch, there will be more of the same thing and there will be more and more farmers that won't have a place to ship milk to," said Heim.

According to Texas-based Dean Foods, there is a nationwide surplus of milk because people are drinking a lot less of it.

And according to recent dairy publications, a major retailer is canceling their milk contract with Dean. 

"It is a big store and they used to buy their milk from Deans but now they've built their own processing plant," said Heim.

That big store is reportedly Walmart.

Cathy's family is getting $13 per 100 gallons of raw milk. But some of the other companies she could sell to are offering much less, $8 per 100 gallons, and that may not be enough to cover expenses.

"Every place, the feed mill prices are going up, fertilizer, the spray, everything goes up but the milk prices. they go down," said Heim.

So what are small farmers to do; farmers that want to pass on their farms to future generations.  Hope people start drinking more real milk again.

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