Dairy industry disrupted by COVID-19

Hoffman says that though market reports may not be uplifting, livestock still needs to be tended to.
Updated: Apr. 14, 2020 at 12:06 AM CDT
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(KEYC) — Restaurant and school closures due to COVID-19 have added to reduced demand for dairy products.

A dairy farmer in New Ulm says they’re doing their best to operate as usual.

“We honestly really have not changed anything as far as operations on our farm other than watching the checkbook a little closer again and even though we’re out here in rural Minnesota, we’re still practicing our social distancing, we try to not work next to each other,” explained Steve Hoffman.

Hoffman says that though market reports may not be uplifting, livestock still needs to be tended to.

“Cows are gonna keep producing milk and hogs are gonna keep growing and need to be fed and the same with cattle and sheep and poultry and everything else, a farm doesn’t really stop for anything," Hoffman added.

The USDA is hoping to get a grip on the market while ensuring school kids still receive meals.

“Some large purchases of dairy products to distribute them to food shelves and potentially the wick program and maybe day cares and stuff like that," Hoffman continued.

The hope is that it would help stabilize the market as exports have dried up.

“Traditionally about 10 to 15% of dairy products produced in the U.S. get exported in one form or another and that is just not happening right now, it has just kind of come to a screeching halt,” Hoffman said.

Dairy Management Incorporated is also working with Feeding America and the USDA with programs such as GENYOUth that help to provide meals, including milk, to school-aged youth during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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