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.
“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.
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.