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Local 4-H member is Knox County June Dairy Chairperson
Submitted by Faith Soto
Knox County June Dairy Chairperson
The Dairy Alliance/UT-TSU Knox County Extension & 4-H

faith soto 4-H
Faith Soto, Knox County June Dairy Chairperson

Did you know 97% of dairy farms are family owned and operated? Our community depends on these family owned farms, though they need us just as much as we need them. So far, over 3000 dairy farms nationally have closed due to COVID-19 with reasons ranging from dumping milk to increased pricing. Thankfully our 3 local dairy farms, Sweetwater Valley, Mayfield, and Cruze, have adapted and continue to serve us faithfully.

I had the opportunity to interview Mary Lyndal Harrison at Sweetwater Valley and Misty Scruggs at Cruze Farm Downtown Knoxville. Both have remained open, as has Mayfield, due to their essential status in providing milk. (90% of Sweetwater Valley production contributes to Mayfield!) Part of their income, however, comes from tourism which had come to a standstill.

Even having had to close stores and tours, Sweetwater Valley has still been found in local stores and Cruze offered drive-by pickup. Both stores are now open - the shops and the services (tours yet to be determined). Mayfield Visitor Center is also now open in Athens, TN. Dairy is so important because it increases energy, strengthens bones and muscles, it can reduce cardio vascular disease and blood pressure, and so much more. Dairy farmers are essential to our community’s future and nutrition.

Support our local dairies: pick up one of 30 flavors of cheese at Sweetwater Valley, grab an ice cream cone at Mayfield’s Visitor Center, and drink some special flavored milk from Cruze Farm. Better yet, buy their products at your local grocery store! Buy local, buy dairy!

Published June 25, 2020

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