With about 1 in 12 people employed in the agricultural industry, it’s not surprising that COVID-19 has impacted the industry in many big ways. Most of which are a result of the break in the supply chain. All across the globe, we are seeing issues with meat processing plants being shut down because of an outbreak of COVID-19, port and custom delays, and transportation issues. All of these issues within the supply chain not only hurt the company in charge of that particular portion of the food journey, but they also fall back on the farmers and ranchers.
The State of The Dairy Farmer
As you might have heard, many dairy farmers are having to dump their milk because of issues related to COVID-19. Farmers are having to dump their milk mostly because of plant processing capacity. Many dairy farmers sell their milk directly to processors who then process, bottle it or turn it into other dairy products such as cheese. When a plant is operational 24 hours a day, they are unable to scale up/ process more to meet overnight growing demand of people living/ staying at home.
One big buyer of milk in the United States is the National School Lunch Program. Since schools aren’t in session, there is a lot of milk that is going unused. Cows have to be milked everyday twice a day. Not milking cows is not an option, so what is left for dairy producers to do? Without the ability to store the milk or sell to their processors as milk is perishable, they are being forced to dump their milk. However, some of your smaller, local farmers are working hard to make sure you get the products you need in a safe and reliable manner.
Here are some of the ways we are dealing with COVID-19 and the impact it has had on the industry and the community:
We are very fortunate to sell our dairy products directly to our customers in our farm store and some small retail locations in the Tulsa metro area. Therefore, we are not experiencing some of these issues. We have greeted many new customers looking for milk and other local products over the last few weeks, and we hope to continue to do so in the coming weeks.
Milk & Cheese Home Delivery
During this time of uncertainty, we realize that even coming to the store might be a risk you don’t want to take. To help remedy this, we have partnered with two area farmers that are offering home delivery in the Tulsa Metro Area. Both farms offer online ordering and have our milk, chocolate milk, cream, and cheeses available:
Swan Beef, Pork and Chicken
The demand for dairy products isn’t the only demand that is increasing; we are seeing a similar situation with meat products. While the demand for meat seems to continue to increase as the retail selections grow slim, it is next to impossible for farmers to scale up overnight to meet the growing demand. We want you to know that we raise beef and pork ourselves, and have recently introduced our first batch of chickens, now available in our store. We are working with local farmers to maintain a continuous beef and pork selection. All the meat we sell in our store is local, raised with verified safe practices, and is processed at our local butcher, Walke Meat in Claremore.
While we normally offer fresh produce in the summer, we are currently working with area produce farmers to offer our customers local vegetables as well as give farmers a new opportunity to sell their product. Due to COVID-19 many farmers’ markets were closed, and these hardworking farmers lost their market to sell. By offering this opportunity, it seems to be a win-win for both farmers and customers.
Cleanliness and Social Distancing
During COVID we implemented a new store policy of one customer/family in the store at a time. Additionally, we are offering curbside service for any orders. If you wish to place a curbside order, simply call the farm store when you arrive, place your order and we will bring your order out to you. We also have heavily increased our store cleaning and sanitizing tenfold with commonly touched surfaces including door handles and countertops.
Your local farmers and ranchers are doing what we can to help meet your needs with the products we offer. Know that while we are not selling our milk products to processors, our meat does go to a processor before hitting our shelves. While there might be multiple disruptions to your normal food purchasing process, know that we are doing what we can to make this go as smoothly as possible. Thank you for supporting your local dairy!