Homestead Creamery feels COVID-19 effects

Homestead Creamery feels COVID-19 effects
Homestead Creamery (Source: WDBJ)

WIRTZ, Va. (WDBJ) - Homestead Creamy and its dairy farm have taken a hit during the pandemic. The recent heat wave added more challenges.

Homestead Creamery is a fan favorite in our area, and just like many businesses in our hometowns, they have felt some negative affects from the pandemic.

“We had an issue we’ve never had before; we had a bottle shortage, so we had to limit some of our shipments because of the glass bottles we use, we couldn’t get those in,” Donnie Montgomery, co-founder and co-owner of Homestead Creamery, said.

They've also distributed less bagged milk and have had to decrease milk production at their Stonybrook Dairy Farm, with the shutdown of schools and restaurants.

“Because COVID affected the creamery sales, they didn’t need as much milk, so they asked farmers, there are six farmers that supply the creamery, and they asked that we decrease the production about 15% for a couple of months,” Jamie Montgomery, owner and manager of Stonybrook Dairy, said.

And a decrease in production means less money.

“We lost roughly a gallon per cow per day. A gallon of milk on the open market is worth between $1.50 and $2. it’s a fluctuating price,” Jamie explained.

The creamery's owner says they haven't made as much this year as originally expected, but they're still doing okay.

July's heat wave, on the other hand, hasn't made life any easier for the dairy farmers.

“Cows do not like heat . . . It affects their feed intake, which ultimately affects their production,” Jamie said.

He says feed intake often goes down around 10% in hot weather and milk production goes down 10% to 15%. But fans and sprinklers help to cool the cows down and keep feed intake from dropping too low. That way, there’s still enough milk and ice cream to go around.

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