Thursday, April 09, 2020

The Fresh Food Glut

Farmers are seeing produce rot in fields and milk goes down drains. Farmers are dumping fresh milk and plowing vegetables back into the dirt as the shutdown of the food service industry has scrambled the supply chain. Roughly half the food grown in the US was previously destined for restaurants, schools, stadiums, theme parks and cruise ships.

 Food is going to waste as growers and producers from California to Florida are facing a massive surplus of highly perishable items  yet US food banks handle record demand and grocery stores struggle to keep shelves stocked.

South Florida is a major producer of vegetables for US consumers, especially in the winter and early spring. Now, for many farmers, the cost to pick and pack that produce is higher than the market price.

Over the last six weeks, US dairy futures prices have nosedived. Dairy producers in Wisconsin, Vermont and other states have taken to dumping excess milk en masse, flooding their fields or pouring it down drains in production facilities. The loss of food service business, particularly schools systems that are large buyers of dairy products, has left producers with a highly perishable glut. But  grocery stores are limiting how much milk people can buy, thinking it’s going to run out.

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