As cases of the coronavirus disease (also known as COVID-19) continue to appear in the United States, many dairy farm families and small business owners are working to navigate the crisis and manage their operations the best they can.

The Center for Dairy Excellence is committed to connecting Pennsylvania dairy farm families with tools and resources to strengthen their dairy operations. Below you’ll find a library of resources to help you manage crisis planning, stress and wellness, and financial planning during this time.

Note: Due to an order from the State Health Secretary, all farms and farm-related businesses must provide employees with masks. The Center has several volunteers who can make cloth masks for your farm. Email Emily Barge or call 717-346-0849 if you are in need of masks for your farm employees.

Important Update: On May 19, 2020, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief and direct support to farmers who have experienced losses related to COVID-19. Beginning Tuesday, May 26, the USDA, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will begin accepting direct payment applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses. Read the full update.

COVID-19 Farm Resources

Overview and General Dairy Requirements

  • Coronavirus Overview – Understand the COVID-19 and its transmissibility, host range, incubation period, environmental stability, and other required information for infectious disease outbreak response.
  • COVID-19 and Your Dairy – Cornell Cooperative Extension shares the steps that dairy managers should consider to protect their workforce, their business and their markets. View slides from their webinar to learn more about the steps employers should take to protect employees, animal health considerations, and more.
  • COVID-19 Testing, Regional Priority for Agriculture – As a direct result of agriculture and the entire food supply chain being life sustaining, combined with hot spots of COVID-19 in processing facilities, any symptomatic adult working in agriculture – including but not limited to those working in processing and manufacturing facilities, food warehouses, groceries stores, and on-farm labor (seasonal farm labor and H2A workers included) – is approved to receive priority testing if they live and/or work in Montgomery County or northeast Pennsylvania. Read more.

Dairy Industry Conference Call Recordings

  • Dairy Industry Conference Call: Part One – During the Center’s first conference call, dairy professionals learned how COVID-19 is affecting the dairy industry and support available at the state and federal level. Panelists answered questions about new Pennsylvania labor laws and guidelines for how farms can be prepared. Listen to the recording.
  • Dairy Industry Conference Call: Part Two – During the Center’s second conference call, dairy professionals received a milk market response to COVID-19 and an update on state and federal response. Panelists answered questions about small business funding opportunities, including the CARES Act, and the value of a contingency plan. Listen to the recording.

Guidance on Dumping Milk

  • Options and Resources for Dumping Milk – Under CFAP (USDA’s Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program), dumped milk is not expected to be compensated for its full value, but the milk that is produced and dumped will still be eligible for the payment rate that milk receives under the direct payment program. The Center compiled a list of options and resources available to farmers who have to dump milk. View the resources.

Strategies for Reducing Milk Production

Stimulus Information and Financial Management

Labor Laws and Employee Management

Broad Impacts on the PA Dairy Industry

Stress and Wellness

Communication and Crisis Management

  • 9 Steps for Managing a Crisis – Crisis events don’t happen to every dairy producer, but they could happen to any producer at any given time. Appropriate communication is vital during a crisis, especially for famers. View this resource to learn more about establishing a crisis plan.
  • Social Media and Crisis Communications Tips – For farmers who are active on social media, it’s crucial we share credible information from reputable sources. There is also a larger audience of families looking for interesting, educational material to pass the time. Read these tips for communicating on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This page will be updated as more resources related to the COVID-19 are made available.