Fair Oaks Farms loses $500K daily during winter blast

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Milk didn’t stop flowing from the 35,000-head herd at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana during the snowy, subzero weather earlier this week. But with treacherous conditions stranding Fair Oaks’ fleet of dairy trucks across Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan, the company was forced to take drastic measures, according to the Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier.

Fair OaksFair Oaks Farms “We don’t stop milking,” Mike McCloskey, chairman of the board.  “Unfortunately, we have to let the milk go down the drain because capacity for storage on the dairy farm is full. Because the trucks can’t come back to pick up the milk, we don’t have a choice but to continue to milk the cows — because they need to be milked.”

For each day the milk didn’t make it to the marketplace, McCloskey estimates the company lost between $400,000 and $500,000.

“We’re dealing with a quarter of a million gallons a day that will be lost,” McCloskey said. “Maybe a little more if things don’t get a little better.”

Though the arctic chill is finally retreating back to the north and snow begins to melt, catching up will still be a slow process.

“We’ll probably continue to have to allow some of the milk to go down the drain,” McCloskey said. “As trucks start filtering through, we’ll start delivering milk. ... We don’t want to put our drivers at risk, so although the freeway may be open, we do understand how dangerous it is.”

The loss remains at an economic level, however. McCloskey points that the cows have not suffered and didn’t milk the cold.

Read, "No cash cows at Fair Oaks Farms during winter storm.”

Fair Oaks, a popular tourist destination located between Chicago and Indianapolis, also closed its public exhibits Monday and Tuesday to the wintery weather. The company remained active on its Facebook page, hosting the “Fair Oaks Farms Great Snowed-In Game,” offering a selection of prices to fans who answered trivia questions.  

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MA  |  January, 08, 2014 at 10:28 PM

Now McCloskey knows what it feels like...small farms have been losing money every single day for years...just look at the cost of production for dairy on the Economic Research Service website!!!

Wi  |  January, 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Speak for yourself.

Ca  |  January, 10, 2014 at 05:26 AM

We've felt there pain in 1975 we we're dairying in ontario Canada we got a storm that came though of historical size there was no one on the roads the only way to travel was with snowmobile it took one week before they had the road open again.We had enough room for two days worth of milk for the next five days we dump our milk I was only 13 years old at that time but I remember it like it was yesterday I don't think my parents slep for the whole week.We survived it and five years later move to Ca and continued dairying

January, 11, 2014 at 09:56 AM

wow. that puts things in perspective

jeanine marie fields    
south bend indiana  |  February, 10, 2014 at 02:16 PM

I am60 yrs old, and been out of work close to 2yrs. I would like to learn how to work on a diary farm.I lived in a farming community, I know this is an unlikely adventure ,and you don't make a lot of money. But the experience it self has to be worth some thing. If there is a farm out there to give this lady a chance. thank you Sincerely Mrs. Jeanine fields

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