A new report from the Rural Policy Research Institute now shows that Americans in rural areas are dying at more than twice the rate of city dwellers from the Covid-19 virus. According to that report the death rate for rural Americans when the pandemic began was 1 in 434 while the toll for city dwellers was 1 in 513. But since the winter peak, rural death rates are more than double those in the city. The study was conducted nationwide and it also found that in 39 states, rural counties had higher rates of Covid than urban counties. Officials don’t just blame vaccination numbers for the current situation. They also say health care options in rural areas are not as good or as available as they are in urban areas.
The September Class 3 milk price was released this week. That price was $16.53 a hundred-up 58 cents from August and a dime better than last September. For the first 9 months of this year the Class 3 average is $16.75.
Wisconsin cheese plants continue to turn more milk into cheese every month. Latest numbers show our August cheese production was up over 5% from a year ago reaching 294 million pounds for the month. American cheese production in the state reached 89 million pounds in August — up about 3% from last year but down 3% from July. Cheddar output fell slightly to 60 million pounds with Italian cheese production up over 9% from last year reaching 141 million pounds in August with Mozzarella output also up — to 93 million pounds. Nationally August cheese production hit 1.14 billion pounds — about 4 and a half percent more than last August. California continues to rank second in cheese production, trailing Wisconsin by about 93 million pounds. New Mexico now ranks 3rd and Idaho 4th in cheese output as they are both below 80 million pounds a month.
Also up in August was U.S. egg production. The 385 million hens that laid eggs that month gave us 9.39 billion eggs — up slightly from a year ago. Of that total, about 8.1 billion of those eggs were table eggs while the other 1.28 billion were for hatching. Iowa continues to lead the nation in egg production, by far. In August Iowa produced almost 1.3 billion eggs, about 400 hundred million more than second place Indiana. Wisconsin’s August egg production came to 171 million — down 11% from a year ago, ranking us 16th in the country. We had just under 6.7 million laying hens in August.