As farmers across our region work to ensure cleanliness and the health of their crops and cows, the COVID-19 outbreak has people once again, not only wanting to support their neighborhood farms, but to make sure they know exactly where their foods are coming from.

The push to buy local is back on. In this time of uncertainty, New York State farmers say you can count on them to ensure not only the availability of food for your table, but to feel confident it was produced with health and safety in mind.

"With all the people that I work with, nobody has cut back staff or cut back production,” said New York State Farm Bureau District 6 Director Adam Miner. “They're putting practices in place such as social distancing and things like that so people can get their jobs done."

With that assurance of quality and care, farmers are also working to spread the word about product coding. Those printed numbers on the milk carton actually tell you where milk was made and processed.

Directly under the expiration date is a two digit number. The number 36 means it was made in New York State, while a different number means, it was made elsewhere. The four digits right next to that number show where in the state it was processed.

"You don't actually have to go to the farm down the road to support them,” said Eileen Jensesn, the executive director of the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition. “Go to your local grocery store and support local grocery stores by purchasing New York products."

"It's more than just milk too,” said Butterville Farms employee Anthony Barney. “It's the cheese. It's the sour cream. It's the creamer. It's all the dairy products and even the wheat in the field to make bread."

The one issue farmers are having with this new push is a false sense of decreased availability. Some stores are still limiting the amount of dairy and crop products people can buy as demand increases.
Several agriculture organizations have been reaching to retailers with restrictions, ensuring them there is plenty of product available and those limits are not needed.

If you see one of the signs, farms are hoping you'll contact an organization, such as the Agricultural Development Authority.