Proper Disposal of Milk

The idea of dumping milk makes anyone in agriculture shudder, knowing the hard work and investment that has gone into producing the milk we have today. Unfortunately, as COVID-19 keeps families at home and milk sales down, excess milk may be requested by processors and cooperatives to be dumped. 

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection and the Department of Natural Resources have created a guide for the emergency disposal of milk for dairy farms during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The fact sheet is available here, with a few initial guidelines included below. The fact sheet reviews the rule changes and regulations that would apply in this type of situation. 

Emergency Disposal of Milk for Dairy Farms During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

You are advised to create and maintain a record of every milk disposal:

  • In the event that state or federal programs become available to help farmers with lost revenue during the COVID-19 public health emergency, you are advised to create a record that includes the date, volume, reason, and location of disposal.
  •  Maintain all records, so that documentation can be produced upon request.

What are the DNR and DATCP proposing to help dairy farms with this emergency:

  • For permitted CAFOs, during the current COVID-19 emergency, on a case-by-case basis DNR can reduce the number of days required for public comment for modifications to a nutrient management plan (NMP), such as adding fields, which will allow CAFOs flexibility to quickly change their land application plans if necessary.
  • For non-permitted farms, DATCP staff will assist with updating NMPs at no cost. If staff are not able to assist directly, DATCP will determine how to get help with updates to NMPs and the best way to assist with any cost.
  • Also for non-permitted farms, the DNR is working the with Governor to waive the requirement in NR 151.07 to comply with an NMP if emergency land spreading of milk is the only option available and a dairy cannot modify its NMP to accommodate the milk disposal. If finalized, this waiver would be granted on a case-by-case basis made by DNR only during current COVID-19 emergency.
  • These emergency actions may not cause an unpermitted discharge of pollutants to waters of the state.

Managing Waste Milk - Milking Center Waste Water Management Publication
Flexibility in FMMO's to Pool Dumped Milk