Cassie and Randall Groves have owned Groves Family Dairy for eight years, but no amount of experience could’ve prepared them for the impact the Coronavirus is having on their business.
“We all kind of want to feel in control of our lives, and there’s nothing that we’re in control of right now,” Cassie said.
A good chunk of their farm’s business comes from restaurants, many of which are closed, or facing their own struggles during the pandemic.
Because of that, they estimate their business is down 98 percent, and they’ve had to dump out 23,000 gallons of raw milk since the start of the pandemic. That’s close to $100,000 down the drain, because you can’t legally sell or donate raw milk in Tennessee.
The milk has to be pasteurized, and the Groves can’t afford to process milk that won’t make them any profit in the end.
“I’m not sleeping,” Cassie said. “The worry is horrible. I was here at 1:00 this morning, started working, I can’t sleep. It’s just absolutely horrible.”
Cassie even had to get another job just to keep paying their four employees. Randall says they plan on taking advantage of the available small business loans, mainly because they have no other choice.
He says every dairy farmer he knows is going through the same struggle right now.
“We’re farmers. We don’t give up,” Randall said. “We’ll be here. We’re going to be here as long as we can be here. Like I said, we don’t give up, and we’re not going to give up.”
In the meantime, the Groves are encouraging everyone to stay home so this situation can end as soon as possible. The Groves are also encouraging people to support local dairy farmers by buying local milk on your next trip to the grocery store.