Farmers keeping us afloat during the coronavirus

LANSING, MI. (WILX) - With Michigan's stay-at-home order to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, people might be eating homemade meals more than usual.

Carla and Chris Wardin at their farm Evergreen Dairy in St. Johns, MI.

Grocery stores have promised they won't run out of food. That's all thanks to local farmers.

Evergreen Dairy Farm in St. Johns is a small family farm that's been around for more than 100 years. Owners Carla and Kris Wardin milk about 450 cows with the help of approximately 10 workers, and their three young boys.

"I'm happy that we're able to produce comfort for people," Carla Wardin said. "People want staples when times are hard. They all go to the grocery store for the same things, so I'm glad that we are considered an essential business so that we can give this to people in a tough time like this."

Right now, as the food industry is leans on farmers like the Wardins to help feed the country, the family said that right now they're just trying to adapt to the changes.

"The restaurants are obviously taking a huge hit right now with not being able to be open, limited amount with carryout, so a lot of cheese and butter that the restaurants use is going down but a lot more is being sold to retail through the grocery store," Chris Wardin said.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, Carla Wardin said milk has become a hot commodity at grocery stores.

"It was so interesting to go into the store and see that one time there were only four gallons of whole milk left on the shelves," she said.

That visual makes them feel proud of what they're working for.

"I think this is where we as farmers step up and, we take our responsibility really seriously all the time, but you think a little more about it at times like these," Kris Wardin said.

Ernie Birchmeier, livestock and dairy specialist with the Michigan Farm Bureau said while the demand is strong now, the big question will be the financial impact of the virus for farmers down the line.

"We are concerned long term about what the impact of this is going to have you know on all industries and all commodities," Birchmeier said. "There are long term forecasts that had dairy down and some meat prices at the farm gate level down 20% to 30%. That's a real drastic hit to farm operations if that does in fact come true. So we need some stability back in the marketplace to provide our farmers with some stability and safety net as well so they can continue to operate."

The Michigan Farm Bureau has resources for farmers on the impact of coronavirus. For news, updates and resources, visit HERE .The page will be updated daily as more information becomes available.

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