The COVID-19 economy has shown us some interesting kinks in our supply chain.
For Kansas dairy farmers, it’s left them somewhat in the lurch.
The Hutchinson News’ Alice Mannette reported that because of the immediate shift from restaurant and school-based products to grocery shelf packaging brought on by the coronavirus, dairy plants needed to reconfigure — quickly. As a result, less product was needed, and, unfortunately, this meant many dairies would need to dump excess milk. That translates to about a 5% or 10% loss in profits for those farmers.
But dairy farmers like aren’t crying over spilled milk. We’re sure they’re upset — and they have every right to be — but they’re not sulking. There’s no time for tears when the cows need to be milked.
Instead, dairy farmers are doing the work anyway knowing they are going to take a loss. That takes gumption. That’s resilience at its finest and this is the Kansas we know and love. Stories like this are what we hope people remember when this pandemic is finally over.
Despite their circumstances, some producers are even working to extend some generosity to those in need. Midwest Dairy recently gave out refrigerators to eight food pantries in Kansas, which were near the dairy farmers they served. Many of the pantries had been unable to carry milk products because of a lack of refrigeration.
Additionally, those dairy farmers are also able to pass on that excess milk that would have been wasted to the pantries. This is such an excellent solution to a problem that could have ended in so much waste. It also shows creative thinking while providing a Kansas common sense solution. Providing generosity like this even when faced with your own personal hardships is the epitome of what it means to be a Kansan.
Be it fires, floods, tornadoes or other crises, Kansans choose to respond with generosity. It’s great to see that continue in times of an unprecedented pandemic and economic hardship.
Long before this pandemic started, Kansas dairy producers have worked hard to provide products so many of us rely on for basic nutrition and as kitchen staples. They continue to do so now. Though the supply chain may not show it at the moment, milk, cheese and cream are needed everywhere.
“The blessing in this pandemic is that people are starting to realize there’s a face behind their product,” Newton dairy farmer Melissa Drzymalla told the News. “We hope in all this people will realize that we are out here every single day putting food on someone’s table. Nobody would do this unless they love it.”
Take a moment to focus in on those words. Let them sit with you and think about them as you make your next grocery list. Hang in there, dairy farmers.