Dairy farmers face COVID-19 surcharge

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BOLIVAR, Mo. — The COVID-19 pandemic is still impacting dairy farmers.

Milk products have been in low demand, marketing costs have increased, and now farmers are being charged with a COVID-19 surcharge in their sales.

Scott Francka in Bolivar had more than $2,000 deducted from his sales at Francka Dairy.

On his Dairy Farmers of America receipt, the deduction is labeled “COVID-19 cost.”

$1.14 per hundredweight was also taken out of his check for the cost of dumping milk.

Francka says he understands the DFA has to cover its losses but he’s still upset.

He found out about the check deductions just two days before he received it.

“We’re gonna find out who the tough people are in the dairy industry right now,” Francka said. “Right now, I’m young, I’m 23 years old. I just took over. When I took over in January I thought this was gonna be the best year that we’ve seen on this farm in a long time. I’m gonna be honest with you. I’ve lost sleep. We constantly have to be upgrading, buying equipment. I mean we use our equipment every day. We have to keep up to date, and that stuff’s not free. It’s just like everybody right now. Everybody’s losing money.”

Dairy Farmers of America released a statement about the COVID-19 surcharge, saying in part:

“To provide transparency and track expenses related to COVID-19, we added a line item to April milk checks denoting the specific milk marketing costs associated with the pandemic. This line item is not an additional expense for members, rather it is an accounting of milk marketing costs directly related to the coronavirus. By tracking these costs, we have been able to provide policymakers with data on the actual financial impact of COVID-19 for our dairy farmers. We encourage our members and all dairy farmers to apply for the assistance offered under CFAP, when applications open on May 26.”

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