Woman buying milk.
April 15, 2020

Why Are There Still Limits On Dairy Products?

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

Some grocery stores and food retailers have continued to limit the amount of milk and dairy products customers are allowed to buy, frustrating dairy farmers as they are being asked to reduce production and even dump milk.

The reason for the continued limits is primarily logistical, says Wisconsin Agriculture Interim Secretary Randy Romanski.

  1. Processing and storage capacity. Dairy processing plants can only produce a certain amount of product based on their plant layout and production lines, even if they run 24/7. Bottlenecks can be created if there are backups due to a reduced work force because of illness or line capacity limits.
  2. Availability of trucks. The number of trucks and truck drivers is finite, but there is an increase demand for products. Again, there can be bottlenecks as trucking firms try to meet the increase in demand.
  3. Hoarding. Milk and dairy products are normally high-demand products, and hoarding only worsens the problem. Milk is typically in 94% of households normally, and other dairy products are in 99% of households. If shoppers buy 5 to 10 gallons on weekend, it’s difficult for stores to quickly restock under normal delivery schedules.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has teamed up with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW), the state’s dairy checkoff program, to address supply shortages in stores and remove limits on products where appropriate.

“DFW and DATCP are deeply engaged with the grocery network and supply chain across [Wisconsin],” says Chad Vincent, DFW CEO. “While we can’t lobby or influence the price of milk and dairy sold, we serve as the voice of farmers and have heard their requests. As a result, we have been on the phone asking individual retailers to lift purchasing limits for dairy.”

If you see limits being placed on milk and dairy products, Romanksi and Vincent urge dairy farmers to ask to speak to store or department managers to understand why the limits are still in place. If appropriate, respectfully ask they be removed, they say.

In Wisconsin, if speaking to the manager doesn’t resolve the issue, take a photo of the sign, along with the location of the store and the date along with your contact information and submit to the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin website at http://www.Wisconsindairy.org/StopLimits.