Georgia Milk Producers will stay committed to sharing COVID-19-related information with our farmers to help them cope with evolving markets and management practices during these uncertain times. We have developed a website page at https://www.gamilk.org/covid-19 to provide daily updates on the outbreak.
Thank you to the American Dairy Coalition and the National Milk Producers Federation for their efforts to encourage Congress to reopen the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) Program for producers. According to Agripulse, enrollment in the DMC fell sharply this year following projections that margins (the difference between milk and feed prices) were expected to stay well above the levels that trigger payments. About 13,074 farmers are enrolled this year in DMC, compared to more than 23,395 in 2019, out of more than 37,000 licensed operations nationwide.
Legislators are also pulling together aid packages to help farmers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Aid will likely come through a program already in place, like the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
While visiting several grocery stores over the last couple of weeks, the shelves have been bare in the dairy case. I am glad to see that in times of uncertainty, consumers are falling back on the nutritional value of milk and other dairy products. I ask our farmers - especially our farms with social media pages - to use this opportunity to encourage the public and highlight the safety and nutrition of our products. When the public is scared, they need reassurance. This is a wonderful opportunity to send the message that we are working hard to produce safe and nutritious meals. Don't make fun of the issue or minimize the public's concerns right now. They already know they need us - let's send the message that we care and are working hard to keep their food safe and secure.
Key messages to use when posting (pictures and videos are great additions):
From the dairy to you, milk goes through strict quality controls to ensure freshness, purity and great taste.
Milking equipment delivers milk directly from the cows to a refrigerated holding tank. The milk is then quickly transported to processing plants for continued freshness and safety. No human hands touch milk.
Milk travels from the farm to your store in usually less than 48 hours.
Dairy farmers and the dairy community overall have a history of providing safe and wholesome products for consumers to enjoy.
There are no nationwide shortages of food, although in some cases the inventory of certain foods at your grocery store might be temporarily low before stores can restock. Food production and manufacturing are widely dispersed throughout the U.S. and there are currently no wide-spread disruptions reported in the supply chain.
There is no evidence to suggest that food produced in the United States can transmit COVID-19. (FDA FAQ page)
Stay healthy and we will continue to share information as it develops. I feel so fortunate to live in a country with farmers that provide us with safe, nutritious products. Thank you for all that you do to provide my family with high quality, inexpensive meals each day!