Grassland Dairy cuts down on dozens of farmers supply of milk

WATERTOWN (WKOW) -- Dozens of dairy farmers in Wisconsin will be without a source of income starting May 1st.

Grassland Dairy Products Inc. sent out a letter to at least 75 dairy farmers Monday notifying them that they would no longer be able to accept their milk supply, to make products such as cheese. 

Mandy Peirick, of T&R Dairy Farms in Watertown, is one of those affected farmers.

"We've been producing milk and shipping it to [Grassland] everyday," Peirick said, who sends nearly 13,000 pounds of milk to Grassland a day. "[The letter] was kind of disheartening, find out that in 30 days we had to find somewhere else to take our milk or otherwise we might be done."

In the letter, Grassland claims a long-term sale of milk products into the Canadian market was eliminated after new regulations in Canada stopped their trade route to those customers.

A portion of the letter tells farmers, "Grassland is now forced to cut back on our milk intake volumes on a very short notice due to not being able to process milk on lines dedicated to our Canadian customers." 

Another dairy farmer, Andrea Brossard, who doesn't contract with Grassland, says the cut is really affecting all dairy farmers across the state.

"Whether you ship there or not, this could have consequences throughout the dairy industry," said Brossard, who is a part of the Dairy Girl Network in Wisconsin. "We really need to make sure we're giving a call to our legislatures make sure they're speaking our voice and have our back."

According to Brossard, the Dairy Business Association and Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative are working to connect the affected farmers with new processors and directly working with legislators for a longer-term solution to this type of trade issue.

"It's hard when everyone is saying no, there's an oversupply of milk," Peirick said, who has been calling dairy processors daily. "I'm just hoping somebody's going to find room for us."

Peirick, who is a third-generation farmer, says the long-running farm could close as soon as 30 days if they can't get another processor to pick up their milk supply.

"Seeing your life's work, my dad's life's work, my grandpa who bought this farm in 1942, this whole dairy park could go, it's hard," said Peirick.

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