The dairy industry has been struggling for many years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has added additional pressure, forcing many producers to dump milk. But New York-based Stewart’s Shops’ dairy producers aren’t dumping milk; in fact, they’re receiving increased premiums and decreased hauling costs from Stewart’s that goes beyond what they receive above the Federal Market Administrator cost.
In addition, Stewart’s has decreased retail milk pricing once again. Effective May 4, all gallons and half gallons were decreased by 10 cents for customers.
Stewart’s relief to dairy producers comes with increased competitive premiums, by 50 cents from 10 cents per cwt to 60 cents per cwt for the month of May and could be extended into June. In addition, the company is extending its fuel savings with a decreased hauling charge for the month of May.
With schools and restaurants closed, the dairy industry is producing 15% more milk than the American public can consume, leading many dairy producers with no choice but to dump excess milk.
Chris Koval, of Koval Brothers is a third generation dairy farmer that has been working with Stewart’s his entire life.
“As a local farm family, we are proud to work with Stewart’s,” said Koval. “Our partnership is a true team effort. We work together to put the best product from our cows out to store shelves. It’s gratifying to be able to supply high quality, fresh product to our friends and neighbors. Stewart’s makes it easy to be proud of what we do.”
“We happened to be in the right position at the right time with our packaged dairy products and our nearly 100 years of experience in the dairy industry,” said Stewart’s Shops President Gary Dake. “Our fresh and local dairy products continue to experience more demand, and we are pleased that we are in a position to offer savings to our customers and relief to our dairy producers during these uncertain times.”
The company relies on 25 local dairy farms, while many other retailers purchase their milk from co-ops. Stewart’s is in a unique position sourcing their raw milk from local dairies, picking up the milk with their own haulers, and processing and bottling it themselves at their manufacturing plant in Greenfield, N.Y. This allows it to have more control and efficiency and pass on savings to both the customer and the dairy producer.
Stewart’s has experienced remarkable growth in its dairy products as consumers are purchasing larger take home packages. The growth has also carried over to ice cream. And the timing is perfect with Stewart’s annual Spring half gallon ice cream sale beginning May 11, a sure sign people are carefully starting to get back to normal.
Stewart’s Shops employs over 4,500 people and operates over 335 shops across New York and southern Vermont. Its rich, nearly 75-year history and success stems from its vertical integration, employee ownership and strong company values.