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Dairy farmers feel coronavirus squeeze as milk sales dry up
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Dairy farmers in upstate New York who faced the wrenching task of dumping their milk earlier this month as the novel coronavirus spread are now confronting a grim future: months of low prices that could squeeze them out of business.
The pandemic prompted officials to close schools, restaurants and other nonessential businesses in the final weeks of March. That led to a sudden and sharp drop in demand for milk products, farmers and economists say, and an immediate supply glut.
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The owners of Dykeman and Sons dairy farm in Fultonville said they had to dump more than two-dozen truckloads of milk after the plant that buys it to make cheese supplying restaurants scaled down operations.
Allenwaite Farms in Schaghticoke, which milks roughly 2,800 cows, dumped around 10 loads this month and is now developing plans to scale back worker hours, operations manager Paul Molesky said. He was raised to eat all the food on his plate, he said, and seeing good milk turned into fertilizer was hard.