COVID-19 has affected many businesses and industries.
But after months of suffering huge losses and dumping thousands of gallons of milk, North Carolina dairy farmers will finally get some relief.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced Thursday that $2 million in aid has been set aside for the farmers who need it most.
“It’s really made us get creative with ways to generate revenue,” said dairy farmer Randy Lewis.
Lewis owns Ran-Lew Dairy in Alamance County. When restaurants were forced to close for three months last spring, his options were limited.
He was losing between $8,000 and $10,000 a month. Instead of dumping milk, he decided to use the extra to make and sell ice cream.
“Had it not been for having to get a little more innovative and to get the ice cream running, the support of the community, I don’t think we could have survived,” Lewis said.
Now six months into the pandemic, he’s recovered some of his profit, but COVID-19 still lingers.
When Lewis heard about the $2 million available to help dairy farmers reclaim their livelihood, he immediately called to find out more and if he was able to apply.
“I was very thankful the Department of Ag included the dairy industry,” Lewis stated.
He says there’s a good chance he’ll apply for aid and looking back, he’s grateful for the support he’s received since he began making ice cream and started a drive-thru dairy store at the farm.
“I’m in great debt to our supporters,” Lewis said.
He plans to keep the drive thru and ice cream sales going once the pandemic is over.
“When this is over, we’ll be a lot better off,” Lewis said.
The application period for the COVID-19 Dairy Aid Program runs from Sept. 28th to Oct. 12.