Colby dairy breakfast aims to remind community of farmers’ importance during COVID-19

Published: Jun. 28, 2020 at 3:42 PM CDT
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COLBY, Wis. (WSAW) - The annual Colby dairy breakfast is supporting farmers and reminding the community of their contribution to the local economy.

The breakfast is in its 39th year. Colby FFA Alumni say they considered cancelling due to COVID-19, but instead went with the drive-thru setup with precautions in place.

They were taking temperatures, wearing masks and gloves and getting contact information for everyone working inside the Colby Lion’s Club.

The FFA Alumni who organized the drive-thru dairy breakfast say it's never been more important to honor the struggles and the hard work of local dairy farmers.

"That's why we really wanted to push for this breakfast today. Because we want to bring awareness to what's going on. The COVID has been a huge issue, but in years past, we've had to deal with economic strain, the weather strain," said Jeanie Tesch, chair of the dairy breakfast committee, who is a dairy farmer herself.

Over the last few months, food has been wasted because of strains on the supply chain at a national level.

“A lot of milk companies themselves either shut down or they had to dump milk, because they didn’t have anywhere to go with it,” Tesch said, noting how difficult it is for farmers to have to keep milking cows every day when there’s nowhere for it to go.

It's not just dairy farmers. The area as a whole takes a hit when farmers have trouble.

"People think that just the farmers are hurting. They need to realize that everybody's hurting. When a farmer hurts, the local grocery store hurts, which hurts the person who comes to buy the product at the grocery store. Your gas stations, all of those businesses, your banker, everybody in the community hurts," she said.

That's why some regulars made a point to come support local.

“I think it gives everyone a drive to kind of want to go out of their way to do stuff like that. Obviously as far as us keeping everything really local, not really going out of town to grocery shop,” said Colby resident Brandon Butkus, who’s come to the breakfast almost every year since he was a kid.We’ve always done the dairy breakfast, and now having kids of our own, I don’t think we’ve really ever missed a year.”

Tesch says she hopes to bring awareness to the ongoing struggles farmers face.

"This COVID has not just affected the dairy industry, the pork, the beef, everything has been affected, so buy local, support your businesses in town," she said.

Their goal was to serve 2,000 meals Sunday, and by 9:00 am, they’d already served 700 people.

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