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Problems On The Farm: Pandemic Impacting Dairy Farmers Ability To Move Product

The pandemic has taken a toll across all spectrums of our lives and had trickle-down effects to places most of us don’t even think about.

When the schools and restaurants shut down during the “stay at home” months earlier this year, the impact hit like a hammer on dairy farms.

Suddenly there was nowhere for their milk to flow but it was still coming out of the cows.

So farmers were forced to dump milk and lose thousands of dollars.

On the Clayholm Farm just outside Worthington in Armstrong County, they were having to dump milk a couple of times a week to the tune of about $10,000 lost each time.

Six months later Rebecca Claypoole says: “It didn’t get any worse for us but I think instead of dumping after that we just got the really really low prices and they are going on they are not ending.”

Her sister-in-law Margaret adding: “It’s not even enough to break even.”

Margaret goes on to say: “The government programs have helped a lot to offset these bad prices.”

More specifically Rebecca adds, “A lot of the COVID relief that President Trump gave really saved us. If we didn’t have that we’d probably be out of business by now.”

With the restaurants partially reopened and schools back in session, Margaret says: “Fluid consumption sales are up but it hasn’t helped with level everything else out.”

Rebecca says: “I think the bulk cheese and bulk stuff from the restaurants, even though the restaurants are going. It’s just not enough to move all that backed up product that we had and I think cheese plants aren’t making near what they used to take in.”

Meanwhile, costs on the farm are not easing up.

Rebecca says: “Feed actually came up since the pandemic so our big cost are up.”

Margaret points out: “A lot of that is we haven’t had the rain this year there’s not going to be the hay and crops there usually is that we can bank on that we’re going to have to buy.”

But so far, Margaret says the Claypooles and their neighbors are holding on.

“Everybody’s hunkering down and hanging on. I think those payments from President Trump really helped that was our saving grace.”


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