FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – The coronavirus is leaving its mark on the dairy industry.
“Anytime you have a disruption in the market, people’s buying habits change, their shopping habits change,” said Homestead Creamery co-founder Donnie Montgomery.
Montgomery’s family has been in the dairy business since the 1950s.
School and business closures have led to a decrease in demand for milk, which means some dairy farms, including Montgomery’s, are having to dump milk.
“The cows produce milk seven days a week. They don’t really understand pandemics, so the milk keeps coming and we just deal with it that way we can,” said Montgomery.
The long-term impact, he said, is still unclear.
“Whenever you have too much milk on the market, then the price goes down because it’s based on supply and demand. So the prices of the milk will go down. How long it’ll stay down, nobody knows,” Montgomery explained.
Luckily, Homestead Creamery is staying busy despite the pandemic.
“Especially at the very beginning (of the pandemic), there were some opportunities. Some of our local bigger box stores were struggling to keep up with some of the demands, so through Facebook and some other social outlets we were able to let our community know, to remind them, that we do have our milk cooler here and it stays full because we are right next door to the plant. Our ice cream court freezer is always full,” said an employee at the ice cream shop.
While the creamery may be in good shape, others in the dairy industry may not be so lucky.
“I don’t know how many more storms they’ll be able to weather, because it’s been kind of tough for the last 3 to 5 years,” Montgomery said.
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