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Schumer calls on USDA to probe, work with industry leaders on milk-carton shortage

By Eric Reinhardt (


U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) is pictured in this 2023 file photo. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ file photo)

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) on Monday called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate the national milk-carton shortage affecting dairy farmers and schools in New York and states across the country.

Schumer explained that a nationwide shortage of half-pint milk cartons is impacting New York’s dairy industry. He went on to say it’s not a shortage of milk but a supply-chain problem with the cardboard cartons, consequently inhibiting suppliers’ ability to provide milk to schools and other customers in New York and across the country.

Schumer’s office cited USDA nutrition standards indicating that in school lunchrooms, milk is required to be served with every meal.

The Senator urged the USDA to investigate the shortage to stop disruptions like this from happening in the future and minimize downstream impacts. He also wants the agency to ensure the state’s dairy farmers have the technical support they need to get through the shortage, his office said in a Monday news release.

The Democrat also wants the USDA to work with industry leaders to devise “creative solutions” to get milk to school lunchrooms.

“Our 260 dairy farm families are encouraged by our team’s efforts to continue to supply our milk to our school customers. It has required hard work, coordination and cooperation to meet their needs,” John Gould, president and chairman of the board of directors of Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc., said in the Schumer release.

“Milk is an essential part of our students’ school lunches and the lifeblood of our Upstate NY agricultural economy, but with a national milk carton shortage looming over our schools, now is the time for the USDA to step up to ensure our farmers get more support to continue their essential work. That is why I am calling on the USDA to start to work with industry leaders to address this shortage we are seeing nationwide, and provide all the leadership and technical support needed to help our New York dairy farmers,” Schumer said.



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