FarmFirst Wants Flexibility For Milk Haulers

Milk hauling costs are expensive. And a farmer can never know exactly how much milk they’ll get from their herd. That’s why FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative wants to see some flexibility for milk haulers. The cooperative is asking the State Senate to allow heavier loads of milk on the road.

FarmFirst General Manager Jeff Lyon testified in support of Senate Bill 431. It would grant the DoT authority to issue annual or consecutive month permits, allowing the transport of fluid milk and other milk byproducts in vehicle combinations exceeding highway weight limits, up to a maximum of 98,000 pounds.

Lyon says dairy farmers and milk haulers are facing tight profit margins due to lower milk prices and increased production costs, including for hauling milk. This bill could help.

“To minimize hauling costs, many farms have their milk picked up every other day. Daily or every other day pickup depends on the amount milk produced daily and the size of the bulk tank,” Lyon explains. “Picking up milk at individual farms and making sure the hauler has full load of milk is an inexact science due to the amount milk on each farm, the distance between farms and the distance to the plant.”

The Wisconsin dairy industry plays a pivotal role as a $45 billion-dollar economic driver for the state. Senate Bill 431 would not only foster industry growth over time, but would allow for flexibility and more options for dairy cooperatives, milk processors and haulers to pick up farmers’ milk to minimize increases in milk hauling costs.