Alabama schools are struggling to find new milk suppliers, including Randolph County, Chambers County and Roanoke City, following the closure of two Borden Dairy production plants.
The Borden plant in Dothan and the other in Hattiesburg, Miss., will officially close next week. School systems say they received an email in early August. Some were able to find replacement vendors, and others are still struggling.
Roanoke City Schools nutrition director Regina Fulghum said right now they are still getting milk, but must have a new vendor before Oct. 1. She said, “I have sent out bids to five vendors and hope to have them back to open on Sept. 30.” She said at the present time they are receiving milk from Borden, but that will end when the plants close.
One company that can help can supply is Tru Moo. “They can supply us with fat-free, 1 percent low-fat, 1 percent low-lactose and fat-free chocolate,” Fulghum said. “True Moo will be a little more expensive, but right now our backs are against the wall.”
She went on to say that getting True Moo can provide milk that has a shelf life of 12 months and does not need to be refrigerated until it is ready to be served. “We will still be getting some shipments from Borden, but we have to decide what we are going to do about the situation, and we are trying to overstock.”
Randolph County Schools nutrition director Mandy Rollins said she had sent out a number of bids to vendors. She said, “I compiled a list of vendors from the state department of education and the milk alliance.” She said the bids are due back in her office by Sept. 27. “We are working hard to make sure the students in the county schools have milk.”
Rollins went on to say the county is also looking at the possibility of purchasing shelf milk that is good for up to 12 months and would be refrigerated just before serving.
Chambers County child nutrition director Adria Staton says they are still talking to vendors about a reasonable price that matches near what they were paying for Borden.