As the year comes to an end, let’s look back at an eventful 2020.
As the year began, the terms “COVID-19” and “coronavirus” began to be heard on the news as medical experts tracked its spread. In mid-March, many U.S. communities enacted orders for nonessential workers to stay home to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Events and trainings became virtual as communities contained the spread. But many families lost access to food, lost access to food programs, lost income or lost a predictable food supply chain. The Dairy Alliance adapted, assisting schools in acquiring coolers to safely transport milk to students in the school and summer months. When not directing food banks to potential partners who could provide this to food banks, The Dairy Alliance began connecting food banks with local processors who could provide more milk for the community. The region’s dairy farmers further supported their local food banks with milk drives and funds for refrigeration. As the pandemic went on, additional milk drive donations with Borden Dairy were put on by The Dairy Alliance across the Southeast, donating over 50,000 gallons of milk across the region.
Additional steps were taken to not only provide dairy products, but to provide a community and connection digitally. In schools, The Dairy Alliance provided virtual dairy farm tours and educational video calls so students could enjoy a field trip and experience outside of their daily classes. Additionally, these farm videos allowed students to understand not only where food comes from but also the work that goes into producing and distributing meals. For families seeing in-person events cancelled, The Dairy Alliance created a recipe contest, Taste of the Fair. This contest was designed to encourage a virtual state fair experience for families, creating fair foods with milk at home.
Though no one could have predicted every twist and turn 2020 had, the immediate response of dairy farmers to ensure a continual supply of milk to our communities has been incredible. When Americans realized they would be using their kitchen more for the foreseeable future, they turned to nutritious, sustainable products like dairy. For a glass of milk in the morning or for making family dinners, people are using more fluid milk, and farmers have worked every day to make sure it is easily accessible.
Looking back, consumers have realized the importance of fluid milk. Through everything that has happened in 2020, The Dairy Alliance and the region’s dairy farmers have worked hard to make sure that this important dairy product was available to everyone.