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Minnesota dairy farmers dump milk because of snow buildup

March 1, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Some Minnesota dairy farmers are being forced to dump their milk after heavy snowfall obstructed roads and damaged farms.

The Twin Cities saw the snowiest February on record with 39 inches of snow, and more than 27 inches fell in St. Cloud, Minnesota Public Radio reported. The buildup of snowfall in the Upper Midwest last month is causing some farm structures to buckle, adding to the problems dairies already face after years of low milk prices.

“There are tons and tons of dairies around the state that had to dump milk in recent days,” said Lucas Sjostrom, executive director of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association. “I know it’s in the hundreds. It may be over 1,000 dairies.”

Accumulated snow is preventing many tanker trucks from getting down rural roads to pick up milk, Sjostrom said.

Snow has also caved in the roofs of at least 20 dairy barns in Minnesota, in some cases killing and injuring cattle, he said.

Sjostrom said that an issue such as a roof caving could keep cows away from feed or from being milked, which can disrupt their schedule and lead to illness.

A roof recently collapsed at a barn on a fifth-generation Olmsted County farm, causing the family to sell their herd, he said.

Farms aren’t the only structures getting hard hit by the unrelenting winter weather.

A middle school in Byron cancelled classes on Friday after district officials reported that roof was “visibly sagging” from heavy snow. A post office in Claremont also closed this week due to accumulated snow causing structural problems, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

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