How the agricultural field dealing with COVID-19

Gracie Wolfe

If you are not familiar with the Agriculture industry, you are probably unfamiliar with what farmers are having to go through during this pandemic. As we all know, we have this thing called “COVID-19” rapidly spreading from human to human causing us to stay separated from those that are not in our everyday household. Many may not think that this pandemic is hurting farmers very badly because everyone looks at farmers as people who wake up early and do work for no reason. But the real questions are, “Why do we wake up so early? What do we do at the barns?” and many more. For myself as a dairy farmer, we wake up early to get the job done because there are many things to do such as water animals, water crops or plants, feed animals, fix tractors, and more. COVID is also making a big impact on dairy farming because milk is having to be dumped. The main question is, “WHY is milk being dumped?” Well, it’s because with all of the restaurants being closed, and all schools being closed, the supply is too great for the demand and they have nowhere to go with the milk. 

Farmers are dumping thousands of gallons of milk each day due to COVID-19. It is going into lagoons and manure pits, but some farmers don’t have that option so it goes into the ground.  David Yaffe-Bellany and Michael Corkery said that “The amount of waste is staggering. The nation’s largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, estimates that farmers are dumping as many as 3.7 million gallons of milk each day. A single chicken processor is smashing 750,000 unhatched eggs every week.” This is a very big impact on us because for some of us, that is our daily job and how we get paid to help support our families. Without selling our milk and eggs in stores, we won’t have enough money to support our families. 

With nothing open, no one is going to any stores or restaurants, so the milk/dairy production is down. Businesses are losing customers and money because they are not allowed to be open. With everything happening during this time, almost everything we try to do to support our families isn’t working.  After weeks of concern about shortages in grocery stores and mad scrambles to find the last box of pasta or toilet paper roll, many of the nation’s largest farms are struggling with another ghastly effect of the pandemic. They also have stated that “…And the costs of harvesting, processing, and then transporting produce and milk to food banks or other areas of need would put a further financial strain on farms that have seen half their paying customers disappear. Exporting much of the excess food is not feasible either, farmers say, because many international customers are also struggling through the pandemic and recent currency fluctuations make exports unprofitable.” 

So TOGETHER we need to keep each other safe and think of all the ones out there trying to help and support their families!