New England Dairy Responds to COVID-19

Jenny Karl, MS, RD| View Author Bio

As the COVID-19 pandemic challenges the dairy industry, we remain dedicated to our goal of building sales and trust for dairy, and are working on your behalf to secure markets for your milk.

New England Dairy continues to work with our schools and partners to develop solutions that get meals and milk to students. To date we’ve purchased and donated over 1,500 portable milk coolers to 85 districts across New England, valued in total at over $60,000.

Milk continues to be an important part of school meals and is provided with every meal. Our State Departments of Education, in collaboration with USDA, are offering schools flexibility on the type and size of milk

being distributed. This allows sites that are providing more than one meal at a time to use larger containers such as half-gallon jugs instead of individual cartons.

Our partner GENYOUth announced a grant opportunity for up to $3,000 per school to supply much- needed resources for meal distribution and delivery efforts to get food, including dairy, to students during COVID-19. Over 400 schools in New England have applied. So far $60,000 have been awarded to 30 New England schools. New England Dairy has received $50,000 in funding from community foundations to expand our dairy grant support to schools.

We are working with grocery stores at both the corporate and local levels to ensure that purchasing limits on dairy products are lifted. As retail sales stabilize and food service sales have slowed, we’ve partnered with dairy co-ops and processors to find new homes for their products. Over the past month, we’ve helped find homes for over 10,000 lbs of surplus foodservice-packaged dairy that would have otherwise gone to waste. Fluid milk processors are looking for opportunities to bottle surplus milk for food banks. The USDA has established a reimbursement program for processors who donate milk to food banks; we are connecting interested processors with this program. We are also working with food banks to determine their capacity for accepting and distributing donated milk within their networks to connect supply with demand. This month we launched a marketing campaign across New England encouraging New Englanders to donate vouchers for milk to their local foodbanks through GiveAGallon.com.

Through our communications, we are informing consumers that New England’s milk supply is strong and steady, and are explaining how COVID-19 has impacted the industry. We are sharing stories about how dairy farmers and the industry are responding to the pandemic and giving back to their communities.

We are grateful to you, the dairy farmers of New England and Eastern New York, for your daily hard work caring for your cows and the land while producing nutritious, high quality milk. This pandemic has shined a light on how important you are to the security of our country and no one should take you for granted.

Thank you for your support of New England Dairy. If you have questions or would like to receive our farmer newsletter, contact us at info@newenglanddairy.com.

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