Dairy producers’ perspective: Health and economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic

Document Type


Publication Date



American Dairy Science Association


Journal of Dairy Science




Suppl. 1






COVID-19, dairy producer, safety


The aim of this study was to describe dairy producers’ perspectives on the health and economic implications of COVID-19 at the onset of the pandemic. Dairy producers were reached by an anonymous online survey circulated nation-wide via university and allied industry media outlets (Apr-20) and by mail [CA, ID, SD (Jun-Jul-2020), WA (Sep-20)]. Responses (n = 309) were received online (28%) and by mail (CA, 35%; ID, 16%; SD, 11%; WA, 9%) from herds with <100 (n = 45), 100 - 499 (n = 93), 500 - 1999 (n = 91) and ≥2000 (n = 70) cows. Respondents reported they had COVID-19 cases [suspected (4%); confirmed (8%)] at their premises. Regarding safety, overall producers were concerned about the health of their families (83% < 1,000 cows; 72% ≥ 1,000 cows) and their employees (56% < 1,000 cows; 88% ≥ 1,000 cows). COVID-19 information was obtained through television (38%), family and friends (26%), and social media (21%). Producers perceived that their employees were somewhat or very concerned (71%) with the pandemic; training was intended (4%) or provided (75%) in English (26%), Spanish (19%), or both (55%). The focus of training was: how to remain healthy at work (90%), at home (60%), what to do if a worker gets sick (77%), and to provide sick leave information (53%). Produc- ers did not always offer training, and the reasons were: not necessary (38%), insufficient information available (17%), uncertainty about best approach (17%), or had no time (6%). Control measures implemented were: frequent hand-washing and sanitizer use (78%), social distanc- ing (59%), prevention of employee gatherings (57%), limiting on-farm visitors (54%), and providing face masks (45%). The economic impact of COVID-19 concerned most dairy producers (82%); the greatest fears were being forced to reduce production, limit of the availability of goods, and lack of services. Dairy producers (76%) replied they had adequate information to develop COVID-19 emergency plans, and they had (30%) or were working (24%) on a plan. Results from this survey highlight the health and economic concerns of dairy producers during the COVID-19 pandemic and the mitigation efforts adopted.

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