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'Tough time for dairymen' COVID-19 having an impact on dairies

Many community members are concerned as to why some items are limited in the stores, such as...
Many community members are concerned as to why some items are limited in the stores, such as milk and cream, but at the same they are hearing that dairies are having to dump milk. (Source: KMVT)(KMVT)
Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 5:17 PM MDT
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The coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on many businesses in Idaho, one of those including dairies. Many KMVT viewers have heard that some dairies have had to dump their milk.

Many community members are concerned as to why some items are limited in the stores, such as milk and cream, but at the same they are hearing that dairies are having to dump milk.

The CEO of the Dairymen's Association clears up the rumors.

"Restaurant sales and food service is a significant portion of dairy demand, and it’s largely evaporated, your dine in restaurants that business is largely gone, your food service businesses are gone," said Rick Naerebout, the CEO.

Restaurants were using a large portion of the cheese, cream and butter that the dairies were making.

"The estimates are that we have about 10% more milk production than we have demand right now, and that’s really the underlying issue as to why we are seeing dairies dump milk at the farm level," Naerebout said.

He says that this is a tough time for dairymen, they don’t like having to waste product.

"It’s a very emotional place for a dairymen to have to put all that hard work in making a great wholesome product and then open the valve of the tank and put it all down the drain, that’s a very difficult thing to do," Naerebout said.

He says that the dairy industry, as well as many others will be seeing the effects of COVID-19 for a long time.

"Even once we do get back to normal course of business, it’s going to take some time to build back that that restaurant demand that we’ve had in the past and that food service demand," Nearebout said. "Just like all the other business sectors, it’s going to take time to rebuild our economy."

He says that if people are wanting to help the dairies, then they can include more dairy in what they're are cooking at home, use more cheese and butter and cream.