Florida Dairy Farmers Dump Enough Excess Milk to Fill An Olympic Swimming Pool After Coronavirus Cutbacks

Dairy farmers in Florida have kept producing milk just like they've always known to do before the coronavirus took over life in America. When the demand for their product came to a screeching halt, just as life in America, they had too much milk on their hands.

So they were forced to dump it all out.

Florida dairy farmers have parked their trucks at grassy fields and also used industrial drains to release thousands upon thousands of gallons of milk—enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, according to the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.

The coronavirus has closed schools, restaurants and theme parks, and then there is the high demand at grocery stores that's led store owners to limiting the amount of milk that people can buy. This led to an overwhelming supply that didn't necessarily meet demand.

"It's heartbreaking ... we're getting calls from food banks. There is a need for milk," said Joe Wright of V&W Farms in Avon Park. "The fact that grocery stores are still limiting the purchases when we're pouring it down the drain—there's just a disconnect there."

Just this week in the Jacksonville area, many high-profile stores like Publix, Sam's Club, Winn-Dixie and WaWa all had two-gallon limits on milk at various stores.

On April 1, about 135 milk tankers dumped roughly 800,000 gallons of milk from 70 local farms, the Times-Union reported. That's more than enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, which typically holds about 660,000-plus gallons of water.

Brittany Nickerson Thurlow is a fifth-generation dairy farmer from Zolfo Springs who said they are producing more milk than needed right now, and that it's just going to waste.

"There's a huge amount of milk still today going on the ground in the state of Florida," Thurlow said. "There's just nowhere to send it."

Publix Milk and Chocolate Milk
A gallon of 2% while milk and a half gallon of chocolate milk from Publix supermarket in Florida. Photo by Scott McDonald/Newsweek

The coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China during late 2019, and by April 8, more than 1.5 million people worldwide have tested positive for the virus, and there have been more than 88,000 deaths around the globe.

In the United States, there have been more than 425,000 cases—the most by any country. The U.S. has more than 14,500 deaths so far. The United Kingdom, where Wimbledon is played, has just more than 60,000 total cases and 7,000 deaths.

President Donald Trump said on March 29 he expects the number of cases and deaths in America to peak by April 12, and that the social distancing guidelines have been extended to April 30. Trump also said he expects a "full recovery" by June 1.