What to Know About the Coronavirus Impacting Dairy

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative has been actively monitoring the coronavirus as new mandates are coming forward and how our industry is being impacted. The potential ramifications for dairy are wide-ranging. Supply chain labor disruptions may take place on the farm, at the processing plant or in transporting milk. FarmFirst is standing ready to assist in any way we can to help keep supplychains open and running, and continues to communicate with our processing plant partners. 

Precautions on the Farm. 
Please remind family members and other on-farm staff to frequently and thoroughly wash their hands. Disinfect surfaces frequently. Keep a distance to prevent spreading potential germs when others are making visits to your farm, such as your milk hauler. If you are experiencing any symptoms, call your local clinic or hospital before going in to prevent the spread of the virus. 


FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative joined with other Midwest dairy cooperatives to send a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue on April 1, urging him to exercise all of his previously existing and new authorities to provide additional means of support for U.S. dairy farmers. You can read the letter here


Additional Resources:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention & Management - Dairy Farmer Handbook
Spanish Version: Coronavirus Prevention & Management - Dairy Farmer Handbook
Six Possible Impacts COVID-19 on Farming - UW-Madison
COVID-19: 5 Things Your Farm Should Do Now
Print Resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
What to Know about COVID-19 in Your Dairy


ESSENTIAL FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL EMPLOYEE WORK PERMIT
As more restrictions are being made for the general public during the Coronavirus pandemic, farmers may want to have a copy of this permit with them to provide if questioned why they or their employees are traveling during times of restricted movement. Wisconsin Governor Evers had announced with his Safer-At-Home Order that permits are not required but for our members in other Midwest states, they may find it valuable to have.

**Download the word document here and update with your information. Download the spanish version of the work permit here.** When you click on the link, it will download immediately, so you will not be redirected to a new website. A pop-up should be at the bottom of your webpage where you can click to see it in Microsoft Word and begin editing with your farm and employee information.


Read: The President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America - 15 Days to Slow the Spread

Read: U.S. Dairy Industry's Coronavirus Resources


Excerpt from Statement by the National Milk Producers Federation, President & CEO Jim Mulhern:

The good news is that the U.S. dairy supply is safe, and production of high-quality products continues unimpeded. The FDA has confirmed that heat treatment kills other coronaviruses, so pasteurization is expected to also inactivate this virus. In addition, there is no evidence that this strain of coronavirus is present in domestic livestock such as cattle.

“Still, all producers will remain vigilant as what has now been labeled a pandemic continues its path. We will continue to answer questions and offer information to help our members. Policy solutions also may be needed for producers whose operations have been affected by the virus. In keeping with our mission of serving our members, regardless of the challenge, we will work with lawmakers and regulators to ensure a safe and adequate supply of milk and to mitigate potential economic harm to dairy farmers.”

Read the full statement, available here