Last updated on: 7/10/2013 | Author:

Mar. 23, 1883 – The New York Milk War

In 1883 a struggle known as the “milk war” broke out between milk farmers/producers and milk distribution companies in New-York.

Milk farmers demanded a higher price for their milk. When the distribution companies refused to pay more the farmers organized “spilling committees” that blocked roads, seized shipments and dumped out their own milk instead of selling it to the distributors.

These “spilling committees” created a “milk famine” in New York City in an effort to force the milk distribution companies to pay the farmers higher prices for their milk.

“In late March, 1883, a temporary settlement was reached between committees of the striking dairy farmers and the milk retailers, the latter representing about 800 of their fellow businessmen. They agreed to set the price of milk at 2½-4¢ a quart, depending on the season. Disputes between milk producers and dealers would resurface at times over the years, the most notable of which were the milk strikes of the early 1930s during the Great Depression.”