Dozens of dairy farmers across Wisconsin are happier Monday than they expected to be. Up until just a few days ago, May 1 was the day a number of farmers thought they would go out of business. The processor they sell their milk to, Grassland Dairy Products, lost its contract with Canada, because that country changed its pricing structure to favor its own farmers.
But late last week, dozens of farmers, including Jennifer and Shane Sauer, got the news they’d been hoping for. They own Sauer Dairy Farm in Waterloo.
“Tuesday night, a company called Rolling Hills Dairy Farm from Monroe, Wisconsin called us. They had seen us on T.V. in all the other interviews and they actually had a dairy sell out the previous week,” Sauer says.
Because one of their farms sold their cows, Rolling Hills had an opening. Sauer says ,“They wanted to know if we would sign up with them.”
They met last Wednesday and after, she cried tears of joy. Sauer says that before agreeing to sale their milk to Rolling Hills, she and her family had begun the countdown.
“Every baby calf that was born, every cow that you milked, every time that you switched the lights on or off in the barn, was that going to be the last time in seven days?” she says. The reality was real…too real and there was nothing they could do.
One of the factors making it difficult for dairy farmers to find a new processor right now is the fact that there’s a glut of milk on the market.
Sauer says that now that they’ve lost the Canadian market, she feels the problem of having too much milk will worsen.
Now that short-term solutions are in place with new processors, it’s time to come up with long-term solutions, she says. “The milk is still there."