The country is really starting to see the effects of the coronavirus. In Washington state schools are canceled and only businesses deemed essential or can work from home are allowed to continue working. One category of essential workers is anyone involved in the food supply system. Dairy farmer Krista Stauffer from Colville, Wash. spoke to Dillon Honcoop on the Farming Show about how the coronavirus is affecting her farm so much, she doesn’t know if it will be able to continue.
“It’s always had its ups and downs,” Stauffer said.
Her and her husband started farming in 2009. Last year they spent time and resources to update their property.
“Last year we personally did some changes to the farm to become more efficient, to work on factors for how we manage our cow manure, and how we can be more environmentally friendly — things like that. Things that we thought we needed to focus on to be dairy farming for the long run,” she said.
She said at the beginning of the year milk prices looked up for her family’s farm.
“The milk prices looked like they were going to be great this year, as far as being able to manage to pay off some bills, pay off some debt,” Stauffer said.
Milk prices go up and down based on consumer demand of various types of dairy products, as well as how much milk farmers are producing and how much product is in reserves.
“Looking at the milk prices the past few weeks — at what the milk prices are actually doing and what they are going to continue to do, is looking pretty bleak for us, as well as other farmers,” she said.
She explained that their business relies on both exporting and domestic sales. Both areas are feeling the effects of the coronavirus. With Gov. Jay Inslee only allowing take out at restaurants and fast food places, their need for dairy has gone down.
Stauffer says she was once told all farms are just one bad year away from losing a farm. She doesn’t want that to become her reality. She hopes her children will get to farm when they’re older.
“Everything that we do is honestly for them to be able to farm,” she said.