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Cargill helps Donate 3,000 gallons of Milk to New York State Food Banks

Thursday, April 30, 2020

LIVERPOOL, NY.— During these trying times, Cargill is finding ways to help dairy farm customers redirect milk they’ve been told to dump and to get it donated to people in need. Cargill colleagues, Brad Saunders and Ed Varnam led the efforts of donating 3,000 gallons of milk from Dykeman Farms of Mohawk Dairy Co-op, which otherwise would have gone to waste, to the Food Bank of Central New York and Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York on April 21.   

The bottleneck within the processing system has left dairies across the country with no choice but to dump their milk. Donating milk directly from a dairy farm to a food bank is nearly impossible, since the milk must first be transported to a processor where it is pasteurized and bottled for consumption. 

After hearing about how other Cargill teammates found creative ways to save milk from this fate, Saunders and Varnam quickly put their heads together to figure out a way to help their own communities. In collaboration with Mohawk Dairy Co-op and their milk broker Jim Buelow, they were able to support Dykeman Farms and prevent milk from being wasted and provide it to those in need by donating 3,000 gallons of milk to the New York Food Banks. 

“I’d rather give milk to someone in need and know that the healthy product I work hard to produce was benefiting them, than to dump it in my manure pit.” Says Roy Dykeman, New York dairy farmer and Mohawk Co-op member of 31 years. “Just last week we were told to dump 15 loads of milk – that is 105,000 gallons of milk wasted. When Ed and Brad came to me with their idea of finding a new home for my milk, I was more than happy to do my part.”   

“We are so thankful that Cargill understands the need for milk, and the importance of the nutrients it provides.” Says Lynn Hy, Chief Development Officer for the Food Bank of Central New York. “We appreciate Cargill’s ability to help while so many people in our communities are in need and struggling with hunger. Because of this donation, we have the opportunity to help individuals, families, and seniors who rely on our services by providing this highly nutritious and highly desirable milk, that they may otherwise not have access to.” 

Together, the Food Bank of Central New York and Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York offers a helping hand to over half the state of New York. Annually, the Food Bank of Central New York supports 264,000 households through the 282 emergency programs they serve across 11 counties; and the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York supports 355,000 individuals through 1,000 agencies that stretch across 23 counties in eastern New York. Due to the effects of COVID-19, distribution for the central and eastern food banks are up 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively – making these donations more critical than ever. Splitting the milk donation, each food bank plans to use their half by distributing the gallon milk jugs to local food pantries, as well as continuing to support their local programs such as summer back pack programs, pop up pantry and mobile food pantry programs, and fresh food distribution programs.

“People come first.” States Saunders. “It was important to Ed and I that we find a way to help serve the great people of New York. We are thankful to have had the opportunity to do that through this donation.”

If you’re looking for ways to give to these food banks, there are three different ways you can help. Monetary donations allow the food banks to acquire and distribute what is in the highest demand, nonperishable item donations are always welcome and appreciated, and lastly, volunteers are needed during this crisis now more than ever.     


Cargill is committed to helping the customers and communities they serve and grateful to help facilitate this milk donation. To learn about other ways Cargill is helping during these times of need, visit www.cargilldairydreams.com.

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