Mississippi grocery retailers urged to discontinue limiting milk purchases

Photo: Guy Montag / CC BY 2.0

JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson sent a letter to grocery retailers across the state urging them to discontinue imposing limits on the quantity of milk that consumers are allowed to purchase. The letter was written in response to dairy farmers having to dump their milk due to an oversupply.

At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis as consumers began making preparations for staying at home by stocking up on groceries, many stores began limiting the amount of milk that shoppers were allowed to purchase. Although this increased the demand for milk at the time, the supply of milk remained strong with no shortage. The purchasing limitation, coupled with the impact from the loss of markets for milk due to school and restaurant closures, has led to an oversupply of milk. Milk processors are not capable of processing the excess supply leading many farmers with no choice but to dump their milk.

“I have reached out to the managers of grocery retailers across the state urging them to support our dairy industry by removing limitations on how much milk shoppers can purchase. There is no shortage of milk. Given the oversupply the industry is facing, there is no reason as to why families can’t have access to the dairy products that they want. This is one measure that we can take to help decrease the oversupply that is causing our farmers to have to dump their milk,” said Commissioner Gipson.

In addition to urging food retailers to stop limiting milk purchases by shoppers, Commissioner Gipson has also spoken by phone to milk processors in the state on behalf of the dairy farmers in Mississippi to discuss the dumping of their milk.

“Our dairy farmers are some of the hardest working farmers. Cows continue to produce, even in times of oversupply, and unlike many other agricultural commodities, milk is highly perishable and can’t be frozen or stored. Our dairy industry has faced many challenges over the years, and now having to dump milk can be devastating for our state’s 65 dairy farms. It is imperative that we do our part to support the dairy industry. I also encourage consumers to support our family dairies by purchasing more milk and dairy products when they shop,” said Commissioner Gipson.