April 06, 2020
Missouri Department of Agriculture, State Milk Board issue open letter to grocery retailers
To Missouri’s Grocery Retailers:
We all have an important role in keeping Missouri’s food supply strong. From farm to fork, the agriculture industry has risen to the challenge of historic food demand created by COVID-19. As a grocery retailer, you and your team members are on the front lines restocking shelves quickly. Milk is a common staple for many Missouri families and our industry is prepared to ensure every Missourian has the milk their families need. Generation after generation, our dairy farmers have worked to produce wholesome, nutritious milk and dairy products for our families. We ask that you support our Missouri dairy farmers by removing the customer limits on milk in your stores.
Two of the most critical markets for fluid milk and dairy products were immediately impacted as COVID-19 spread to Missouri. Schools across the state were closed within weeks of our first positive case, and restaurants dramatically decreased their dine-in services. This was all done in an effort to practice social distancing and protect our communities. At the same time, grocery store demand rose sharply. In an effort to protect customers, some grocery retailers limited the amount of milk each consumer could purchase.
The Missouri dairy industry contributes $2 billion to the state’s gross domestic product, supporting family farmers and more than 23,000 jobs. It is important we all do our part to ensure our Missouri dairymen and dairywomen thrive. Milk processors and distributors have successfully diverted the milk supply from schools and restaurants to grocery stores. The milk processors in Missouri are delivering 100% of the orders being placed right now and they are ready to fill even more.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture and the State Milk Board respectfully request your support of Missouri’s dairy industry by allowing customers to purchase more of this nutritious product for their families. Thank you for your dedication to the strength of Missouri’s food supply.
Chris Chinn, Missouri Director of Agriculture
Gene Wiseman, Executive Secretary of the State Milk Board