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Iowa Dairies Disrupted By COVID-19

Midwest Dairy
Iowa dairies are dealing with a changing market for their products thanks to COVID-19.

When COVID-19 forced the shuttering of schools and food service establishments, it caused a disruption in the supply chain for dairy farmers, including those in Iowa.

Farmer Relations Manager for Midwest Dairy, Mitch Schulte explained suddenly there was little or no demand for things like individual cartons of milk and 25-pound bags of shredded cheese.

He said this oversupply has producers looking for a home for their products.

“These processors and co-ops are evaluating on a case by case scenario. As they deal with the disruption in the supply chain," he said, "they’ll make the decision on whether they may have periodically dispose of milk to adjust that supply or not.”

On the positive side, Schulte said retail demand for milk, cheese, butter and ice cream is up.

“I think we’ve seen a pretty big surge in buying of dairy products in the beginning and as people stock up so that surge is slowly going down. Just know that our dairy farmers work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and they continue to produce milk every day,” he said. “We do have a readily available supply of dairy products.”

Industry estimates from the International Dairy Food Association say retail sales are as much as 60 percent higher than this same period last year.

Pat Blank is the host of All Things Considered