SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The COVID-19 pandemic is choking New Mexico’s dairy market, forcing many farmers to throw surplus milk into irrigation ponds.
The statewide shutdown of schools and restaurants, which are large buyers of dairy products, have contributed to a steep drop in demand for milk. Facing a glut, dairy farmers are dumping mass quantities of their product just as a growing number of jobless people struggle to feed their families.
“It’s an absolute nightmare situation,” said Charlie DeGroot, a partner in Three Amigos Dairy in the town of Dexter, south of Roswell. “There’s a lot of concern about the fact that we’ve got these food lines, food banks and all of that, and milk is being dumped.”
DeGroot said he hasn’t had to dump a load yet but knows farmers in Lovington, Las Cruces and other dairy-producing areas are tossing excess milk.
“No one wants to see it go to waste,” said Beverly Idsinga, executive director of Dairy Producers of New Mexico. “For all that hard work to go to waste is heartbreaking.”