UCCE Sonoma responds to Coronavirus: Dairy

Mar 20, 2020

UCCE Sonoma responds to Coronavirus: Dairy

Mar 20, 2020

A new series about how UCCE Sonoma continues our work for the community.

Dairy Advisor, Randi Black  

Tell us about how shelter in place has effected your work:

My ability to do one-on-one technical assistance has been compromised; however, with the use of Zoom conferencing, I have been able to engage with some dairy producers to continue grant writing support. This can be limiting due to poor internet connectivity in rural areas and a steep learning curve, but many dairymen are willing to learn and adapt during these unfamiliar times.

How is shelter in place affecting ag operations that you work with?

They are currently operating as business as usual. Many are worried about their workers getting food and necessary supplies during this crisis and actually stocked up on extra food to be able to feed their whole dairy crew if it's needed. It's nice to see everyone looking out for one another. They're also a bit worried what will happen if someone does get sick and how that will impact their operation. I have not yet heard of this occurring yet, thankfully.  

Shoutout to all our farmers and ranchers who don't just produce food in crisis but all year round! They take no days off, even during worldwide pandemics, because what they do is the most important job.


We also have dairymen who have farmstead operations. Luckily, our farmer's markets will remain open; however, it is expected that attendance will be lower. As with many farm to table operations, there will likely be a drop in sales. Some have started taking orders for curbside pickup or delivery or sharing cool recipes to make at home with their tasty cheeses. If you're not already following our fantastic farmstead cheese operations on social media, I encourage you to do so and support them! Also, see link below for more food resources.

Find Local Products: check out Sonoma County Farm Trails

Shelter-In-Place Food Resources

Moving Forward

Dairy markets were rising and this crisis has caused some negative impacts. We need to make sure we put milk and cheese in the cart when we make our essentials supply run! I am looking to arrange more Zoom meetings to continue my technical assistance where I can. We were also able to get an extension in application deadlines for California Department of Food and Agriculture dairy grants, which have been very popular for dairymen across the state.

Randi can be reached at: rablack@ucanr.edu 

By Randi Black
Author - Dairy Advisor
By Karen Giovannini
Contributor - Agriculture Ombudsman

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