Pandemic is ‘huge lead weight’ for local farmers

WWNY Pandemic is 'huge lead weight' for local farmers

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It's estimated that 10 to 15 farms in Jefferson County could close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That's according to county Agricultural Coordinator Jay Matteson.

In an interview with 7 News anchor Diane Rutherford, Matteson said the pandemic "is just a huge lead weight that just came down on their shoulders."

He said farmers dumped approximately 1,000 loads of milk last weekend alone across New York state. It's expected to continue for at least the next 6 weeks as the shutdown of businesses like restaurants, hotels and colleges continues.

Another obstacle farmers face is registering their equipment, said Matteson.

Farmers typically take their plates off equipment in the fall and put them back on and re-register them in the spring.

With Department of Motor Vehicle offices closed across the state, there has been concern about being able to legally operate the equipment on the road.

Matteson said local lawmakers and agencies have found a work-around. If any farmers are having difficulty, he asked them to contact him.

He also said there has been some disruption in the supply of feed for livestock, but it hasn’t been a big problem yet.

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