North Carolina farmer says COVID-19 pandemic forced him to dump 17,000 gallons of milk

North Carolina news

JULIAN, N.C. (WNCN) – Farmers in North Carolina are dumping fresh milk they can’t sell during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our business here at Homeland Creamery has been impacted. About a 65-percent decrease in total milk sales,” said Chris Bowman.

Homeland Creamery supplies milk to restaurants and coffee shops. Many of those establishments are closed.

Because there’s no one to buy milk in bulk, Bowman said he has no choice but dump it in a pasture down the road. Bowman said he’s dumped 17,000 gallons of fresh milk since the pandemic began.

“Dumping the milk is the worst,” he said. “That’s the profit going down the drain. I would say probably about $160,000 if I had to put a dollar figure on it.”

Bowman said he’s working to supply milk to local food pantries.

“I think there are a lot of people who could use the milk,” he said. “The logistics really put a wrench in everything. We are working with Orange County (and) their food pantry. I think that’s going to take place in the near future.”

In the meantime, to keep business afloat, Bowman opened up a drive-thru at his creamery, selling small quantities of milk, homemade ice-cream, and other items.

“I think it’s great to have all these people come out because I know they’ve been struggling,” said drive-thru customer Charles Purrington.

“It’s a really sad situation,” said customer Mariam Cowman. “This is a local industry and we can’t have it just evaporate.”

While the future is uncertain, some relief is on the way. The USDA announced Friday it’s planning to spend $3 billion to buy meat, produce and dairy from farmers who are impacted by the pandemic. Bowman is hoping he’ll be included.

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