Dairy industry heavily impacted by COVID-19

Agriculture

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The dairy industry has been thoroughly effected during the COVID-19 pandemic. We spoke with Alan Bjerga, senior vice president of communication at the Nation Milk Producers Federation about some of the effects this pandemic has had thus far.

Even though grocery stores may have seen an uptick in consumer purchasing, there were still multiple sectors in which the dairy industry was not able to supplement.

“Same time that you see consumers rushing to store shelves and emptying them of milk, you also see milk being dumped because in that case, those farmers were supplying a certain supply chain that isn’t retail that’s really been devastated,” Bjerga said.

The dairy industry has especially been effected on the front of retail purchasing such as restaurants. This has been so detrimental, they have had to dump milk in certain extreme cases.

Bjerga goes on to explain, “Government is stepping in as that buyer by getting it to people and families and need, and again, that gives a diary producer someplace for the milk to go and that’s what a dairy farmer wants. They want the milk to have a market that way it doesn’t back up onto their farm, and, of course, no one wants to dump the milk, you know, the cow works hard for that milk and so do the farmers.”

On average, dairy producers are expecting to see a 58% loss in income this year alone. With that being said, consumer purchasing has helped out tremendously, and Bjerga is hopeful through the reopening that will also assist in some of the lost income that will be seen this year.

“The silver lining in this cloud has been the great consumer demand that we’ve seen. You actually could see, at home per capita consumption of milk go up significantly and that would be reversing about a four-decade trend,” said Bjerga.


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