Dairy down the drain

The Bateys were forced to dump about 12,000 pounds of milk at their dairy farm over the weekend due to the winter storm. Photo submitted.

TEMPLE HILL — Milk was flying off the shelves this past week, while Saturday our local dairy farmers were pouring it down the drain.

With extreme weather conditions, people stocked up on essentials and went home and waited the worst of the storm out. Our farmers, however, don’t have the option of calling into work or leaving early.

No matter the rain, ice, or snow the livestock still needs to be fed and tended to. While our dairy farmers still have to milk the cows at least twice a day.

Two Barren County dairy farmers, Mitchell Batey and Steve McClard located in Temple Hill off Lyon School Road, among all the other local farmers didn’t let the weather hinder them from their responsibilities. However, for many of them, their hard work would end up being wasted. Because of hazardous road conditions, the milk trucks couldn’t make it out to make their farms for pickup.

“Milk can’t stay in the tank over six milkings (about 3 days) before being picked up because of the bacteria that will grow,” Mitchell said.

Because of that Mitchell, the McClards, and many others had no other choice than to dump the tank. Anyone who has ever been around dairy farming knows the way those words will make you cringe. The Bateys watched about 12,000 pounds of milk flow out of their tank and down the drain. Mitchell could only describe it as depressing. Steve McClards’s nephew, Brad Crumpton, is a major part of their operation only living a few miles down the road from their operation.

He explained they had to dump about 30,000 pounds on Saturday. Consumers typically purchase milk by the gallon, which weighs about 8.6 lbs. This will mean thousands of dollars in profit loss for these farmers. If those numbers aren’t high enough that doesn’t include what it cost to produce the milk between feed, labor, and other expenses. They hope to be compensated for profit loss but, Brad Crumpton and Mitchell Batey both agree “it’s just a part of farming.”

The old saying may be “don’t cry over spilled milk”, but in circumstances such as these with thousands of dollars lost and families to feed seems a few tears should be shed.

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