'Not a good feeling:' COVID-19 taking a toll on Wisconsin dairy farmers

’Not a good feeling: ’ COVID-19 taking a toll on Wisconsin dairy farmers

LAKE GENEVA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The coronavirus is taking a toll on Wisconsin dairy farmers. 

Black Cat Dairy in Lake Geneva is one of several Wisconsin dairy farms now having to throw out some of their milk.

Co-owner Jason Leedle says they started dumping their milk on March 31, and have been dumping 4,7000 gallons a day. 

“It’s very disheartening,” Leedle said. “It’s a punch in the gut to see my family and the animals especially. We’re all working.. us and the animals… making this quality food product and then to see it go down the drain... it’s not a good feeling.”

With restaurants and schools closed due to COVID-19, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association says about 50 percent of the dairy product produced in Wisconsin now has nowhere to go.

"All that cheese, all that butter that was moving to those markets unfortunately it doesn’t have a home right now,” John Umhoefer, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Executive Director, said. 

Schaal Dairy Farm in the Town of Dover hasn’t had to throw out any milk yet, but they were told to prepare to. Schaal said milk prices are also down. 

“It’s a little bit frightening ,” Brian Schaal said. “We have a business, we have loans, we have employees we have to take care of,” Brian Schaal said.

Some Wisconsin Dairy groups are now calling on the federal government to help out.

“Our goal is to have the federal government intervene and purchase dairy products because there’s going to be an important market for feeding programs for people who maybe have lost work and for schools who are continuing to feed students even though school is not in session,” Umhoefer said.

One way farmers say consumers can help out is by just continuing to buy local dairy products at the store.

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