Milk Prices Take a Hit and Farmers Markets Closing
**The USDA announced its food safety and pest and plant disease divisions, along with the Agricultural Marketing Service, which oversees multiple specialty crop-related functions, continue to function as the coronavirus COVID-19 spread.
In a joint statement picked up by thepacker.com, Mindy Brashears, USDA deputy undersecretary for food safety, and Greg Ibach, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, say USDA programs that handle functions the fruit and vegetable industry depends on WILL remain staffed during the crisis.
**Farmers and analysts alike expected milk prices to suffer from COVID-19, but what started as a price drop estimate of 6% has quickly become much darker.
According to milkbusiness.com, as grocery stores struggle to keep milk on the shelf, people aren’t eating out nearly as much and many schools are closed for several weeks, which will no doubt impact milk consumption.
Analysts agree milk prices could fall a staggering 20%, roughly in the neighborhood of 2008 prices.
**Reaction to the novel coronavirus has led some local governments and property owners to suspend operation of farmers markets.
Market managers tell the California Farm Bureau they should be considered an essential public service, similar to grocery stores.
Though some farmers markets have been temporarily closed, others remain open and have instituted additional measures to prevent close contact among customers and vendors.