LOWVILLE, New York (WWNY) – For dairy farmers in Lewis County, a partnership with Kraft has been a staple of their business model and economic success. A combination of factors over the last several years has caused a concern about the future of the partnership for farmers in Lewis County.
Corp Consulting Group was hired by Lewis County to help address these concerns.
One of the larger for farmers being the practice of milk dumping. Milk dumping occurs when large plants like the Kraft plant in Lowville cancels orders and their is no where for farmers to sell their product to.
“When you only have a day or two to reallocate hundreds of thousands of pounds of milk you can’t find homes for that, so that milk is dumped. Throughout 2021 and continuing into 2022, the farmers and the co-op has been dumping milk,” said Robert Corp, President of Corp Consulting Group.
The consulting group reports than more than $1 million dollars a year in combined losses can be attributed to dumping. That cost coming out the pocket of the local farmer.
One of the ideas to help combat the dumping is the creation of a co-op owned milk processing plant in Lewis County.
”We’re going to give more opportunity for the farmers in the region, and we’re going to provide the ability to balance so that if a big plant says; I can’t take your milk today, and we have no place else to ship it, we need to build something big,” said Corp.
The proposed Lowville Dairy Producers Plant is estimated to create more than $3 million dollars for the local economy and between 40 and 90 jobs. As well it would increase milk production in the county by more than 50%.
“We think it is a reasonable investment as a baseline, and we think there is growth opportunity from there,” said Corp.
Corp is confident about the success of the Lewis County plant. He said although he can not make any guarantees, he is 85% certain that the plant would at minimum break even, and 100% that if there were any losses, they wouldn’t be more than around $100,000 in the first five years.