Borden distributor closing impacting over 422,000 students in Alabama

Milk plants closing: Impact on schools
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 7:50 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2022 at 3:17 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Borden Dairy Distribution center in Dothan will close its doors by the end of next month.

According to the Alabama State Department of Education, over 736,000 half pint cartons of milk from Borden are given to 422,000 students across the state weekly.

The Dairy Alliance has been working with the Department of Education to help over 100 districts across the state find a new supplier.

Jana Miller with The Dairy Alliance said they have already been in contact with various distributors willing to help.

“We have been getting calls from a lot of other food vendors that are wanting to help. So it’s really coming altogether. But it’s just a process they have to go through to get bids in order to find who their milk is through,” said Miller.

While districts look for their next provider, the child nutrition program will provide shelf-stable milk as a statewide purchase.

Miller suggest districts are open minded when placing bids.

“Bid all types of packaging. Don’t limit yourself to one type of packaging. Cartons, plastic bottles or shelf-stable,” said Miller. “Maybe it is fewer delivery days. Maybe a maximum of two days per week. Before some districts, we’re getting daily deliveries of milk.”

Miller does not anticipate any district going without milk since solutions have been presented to districts.

Commissioner Rick Pate and his staff said they are working closely with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) Child Nutrition Program and the Dairy Alliance to secure suppliers to provide milk to Alabama’s school children.

“Through our Farm to School program, ADAI has a strong working relationship with Alabama’s Child Nutrition directors,” said Commissioner Pate. “As soon as we learned of the plant closures, my staff began consulting with all parties to find a solution to this temporary milk disruption issue.”

The ALSDE Child Nutrition Program is currently working with vendors on the statewide procurement bid to possibly provide an alternative shelf stable milk as a statewide purchasing bid line. Shelf stable milk is pasteurized at a higher temperature and therefore, no refrigeration is required.

“Shelf stable milk is projected to arrive at our north Alabama supplier the week of September 5th,” said Angelice Lowe, ALSDE Child Nutrition Programs Director. “ALSDE Child Nutrition Program directors are also working with The Dairy Alliance to try and locate dairy producers who may be available to provide milk in their area.”


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