From our Team to Yours: COVID-19 Resources for Dairy Farmers

Alycia Drwencke, Dairy Management Specialist
Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program

April 7, 2020
From our Team to Yours: COVID-19 Resources for Dairy Farmers

The South Central NY Dairy and Field Crops Team has compiled a list of articles that we think may be useful to dairy producers and their service providers as we all navigate the COVID-19 situation. Please stay safe and reach out to our team if you have questions or need help finding information. We are here to help with tools and resources to support all of the normal day-to-day dairy, livestock, and field crop management considerations, in addition to emerging topics related to COVID-19.


Health, Safety and COVID-19 Prevention

Biosecurity for People: 7 Steps to Protect Farm Workers from COVID-19

By Mary Kate Wheeler, Cornell Cooperative Extension South Central NY Dairy and Field Crops Team

To manage the human risks associated with COVID-19, every farm operator should be thinking about two things right now: prevention and contingency planning. This article addresses prevention, otherwise known as "biosecurity for people." Use these seven steps as a guide to develop your own biosecurity program aimed at keeping your farm workforce safe, healthy and productive.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention and Management Dairy Farmer Handbook

National Milk Producers Federation

Dairy farms are 24-hour, 7-day per week business and operations must continue. Following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) precautions will minimize the risk to dairy farmers, family, employees and essential professional and service providers to be on the farm.

What You Need To Know About Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Your Dairy (English Infographic)


Print and post this infographic where your farm workers can see it to inform them about the coronavirus and the steps they should take to protect themselves and their coworkers at the dairy.

Lo que necesita saber del coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) en su lechería (infografía en español)


Imprima y publique esta infografía donde los trabajadores de su granja puedan verla para informarles sobre el coronavirus y los pasos que deben seguir para protegerse a sí mismos y a sus compañeros de trabajo en la lechería.

Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

To reduce the impact of COVID-19 outbreak conditions on businesses, workers, customers, and the public, it is important for all employers to plan now for COVID-19. Lack of continuity planning can result in a cascade of failures as employers attempt to address challenges of COVID-19 with insufficient resources and workers who might not be adequately trained for jobs they may have to perform under pandemic conditions.


Economic Impacts and Policy Response

Dairy Market Updates - April 1st 2020

By Andrew Novacovic, PhD, Cornell University and Mark Stephenson, PhD, University of Wisconsin

National experts on dairy markets Andrew Novakovic and Mark Stephenson discuss the implications of COVID-19 on consumer demand, dairy processing, and prices. Andy is a Cornell University Professor of Agriculture Economics Emeritus, and Mark is the Director of Dairy Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin. They share their thoughts on what dairy operators should be thinking about now, and how they can prepare for a possible low price cycle.

Impact of Processing Plant Closures

By Michael Baker, PhD, Beef Cattle Management Program, Cornell University

What we know as of 3/30/2020: JBS in Souderton, PA closed due to confirmation of two COVID-19 cases. About 75% of their daily harvest was devoted to finished cattle and 25% to cull cows and bulls. Recently Cargill in Wyalusing, PA made the decision to only process cull cows and bulls. As of the date of this writing they are still in operation.

COVID-19 Employee Leave and Farm Employers

By Richard Stup and Elizabeth Higgins, Cornell University

Both the U.S. and New York governments passed COVID-19 related legislation in recent weeks affecting employee leave from work. These programs are designed to protect jobs and provide additional sources of income for employees and their families during the current pandemic. This post is intended to help clarify the new federal and state programs and how they interact with each other.

CARES Act's Emergency Resources for Farm Businesses: Paycheck Protection Loan Program

By Elizabeth Higgins, Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern NY Commercial Hort Team

The recent CARES Act provided additional emergency funding through Small Business Administration (SBA) for businesses who are facing losses due to COVID-19.  If you are a farm business, the most important program to be aware of right now is the Paycheck Protection Loan Program, which was authorized in the CARES Act. Farms that meet SBA small business thresholds are eligible to apply for this low interest, forgivable loan program.


Dairy Farm Business Management

COVID-19 Response: Leadership, Planning, and Communication/Collaboration

By Dr. Bob Milligan, LearningEdge Monthly

I have been visiting with clients and colleagues and thinking about how to respond to our COVID-19 crisis. My wife and I are hunkered down as we are among the vulnerable and are in position to isolate. This issue is a series of short articles focused around what I think are the three keys to navigating this crisis. They are: Leadership, Planning, Communication and Collaboration.

Updated: Do's and Don'ts for Dairy Farmers when Facing Financial Difficulty

By Professor Wayne Knoblauch and Jason Karszes, Cornell PRO-DAIRY

This is a revised Do's and Don'ts list for dairy farmers during times of financial stress that was originally published back in 2018. With the increasing likelihood of considerable financial stress in agriculture this year, this might be an easy read to help focus on some critical things as different decision need to be made.

Dairy Farm Risk Management Options - April 2020

By Christopher Wolf, PhD, Cornell University

Before news of coronavirus became widespread, the futures markets showed signs that 2020 would be a recovery year for the dairy industry. Class III milk futures were between $17.75 and $18.25 per hundredweight from February through December 2020. However, milk futures fell as the coronavirus spread. As of April 6, Class III futures for May had fallen to $12.58 per hundredweight. In this article, Christopher Wolf, Cornell University Professor of Applied Economics, discusses the various price risk management options available to dairy producers in the context of COVID-19.

Progress of the Dairy Farm Report #3: Selected Financial and Production Factors

By Jason Karszes, Lauren Hill and Wayne Knoblauch, Cornell Dairy Farm Business Summary & Analysis Program

This is the third Progress Report summarizing Selected Financial and Production Factors with data from 135 NY farms who participated in the 2019 Dairy Farm Business Summary. The report presents averages from all farms, and from four different sub-groups based on herd size: less than 450 cows, 450 to 899 cows, 900 to 1,399 cows, and greater than 400 cows.


Stress Management and Mental Health

Managing Stress in Unprecedented Times

By Jan Kirshenbaum, MSW, NY FarmNet Consultantand Kate Downes, NY FarmNet Outreach Director

Whatever our age, a life-altering event can leave us hoping there is some magical cure that will help us feel less bad: "If only I read the right book/ hear the right sermon/ go to the right workshop, I can learn how to feel less bad." Unfortunately, no magic exists in this situation. Amplifying our fears is the fact that the ultimate "grown-ups"—the President, governors, hospital administrators—are telling us there will be no quick solutions to this situation, and it may get worse before it gets better. Taking all of that into consideration, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Managing Financial Stress on the Farm in Uncertain Times

By Ed Staehr, Executive Director, NY FarmNet

Current economic uncertainty related to COVID-19 is resulting in stress for many farmers. Normal consumer patterns of expenditures on food away from home have been altered, as restaurants are limiting service to take out and consumers are staying home. For the dairy industry, consumers are purchasing more fluid milk; however, this may not fully offset reduced demand in cheese utilized by restaurants and milk provided by schools. Stress cannot be avoided; nonetheless, one can take steps to identify stressors and manage them by putting together a plan for the future.

For additional resources or information, please reach out to Alycia Drwencke, Dairy Management Specialist, or Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Farm Business Management Specialist.

Field Crops

Field Crops









Upcoming Events

Cornell Seed Growers Field Day

July 2, 2024
Ithaca, NY

Please Save the Date for the Cornell Seed Growers Field Day to be held the morning of July 2nd.  The event will be held at the NYSIP Foundation Seed Barn, 791 Dryden Rd., Rt. 366, Ithaca, NY. 

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Sustainable Poultry Production

July 12, 2024
Hamburg, NY

Join us to learn about sustainable poultry! Cornell Extension poultry specialist Amy Barkley will guide us in selecting the right breeds, establishing ecologically beneficial production, troubleshooting pests & diseases, and processing. We will tour a 5A-certified on-farm processing center and watch a demonstration. Everyone who identifies as a woman in agriculture is welcome to this free learning circle. Lunch is provided, so please register in advance! This event will allow participants to connect with fellow land stewards and producers and support everyone in learning together. We will discuss full-circle sustainable poultry production, from breed selection, housing, pests & diseases to processing and marketing. REGISTER

Led by Cornell Cooperative Extension poultry specialist Amy Barkley and farmer Kate Geiger; facilitated by American Farmland Trust NY's Women for the Land Program Associate, Caitlin Tucker, CCA.

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2024 Broiler Field Day at Laughing Earth Farm

August 19, 2024 : 2024 Broiler Field Day at Laughing Earth Farm
Cropseyville, NY

Join us for a free field day to explore broiler production, processing, and finances. Zack and Annie Metzger will be our hosts. They have run this 200 year-old small diversified farm for 8 years. They process their poultry in a 20C kitchen, where they produce value-added products like sausage and dehydrated chicken feet.

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