Will Y2K bug stop flow of milk?
March 25, 1999
From CNN CorrespondentKate Snow
(CNN) - Down on the farm, the animals are not concerned about the Y2K bug, but their owners are.
James Brown and Larry Brown co-own Twin Line Dairies, one of the ten largest dairy farms in Georgia. Like most farmers across the country, they've been testing equipment and preparing for Y2K related emergencies like power failures.
James says that they have tried to prepare for every Y2K related eventuality. "Our worst-case scenario here is waking up January first and not being able to milk the cows."
Fixing their generator is top priority. If the milking equipment can't operate for just two days, many of the cows could get sick or even die. They are also stockpiling two or three times the amount of cattle feed needed in case suppliers have transportation problems.
The Browns are also counting on their milk processor, Centennial Farms, to be ready so their milk can make it to market.
Y2K testing at the processing plant uncovered a problem in the software that controls the entire system. The plant manager says it will be replaced and predicts the flow of milk to supermarkets will not be interrupted.
On the retail end, grocers also plan to keep generators ready in case the power fails so milk and other products will stay refrigerated.
How about purchasing the milk? You might not think that would be affected by the Y2K bug, but even the price scanners at the checkout counter are controlled by a computer. Supermarket chains like Kroger have been evaluating all the computers involved in daily operations and then testing to make sure they are ready for 2000.
Gartner Group Research Director Lou Marcoccio says the Y2K prognosis for the food chain looks healthy.
"When we've analyzed some of the critical foods, like milk, the food chain actually showed to be favorable overall here in the U.S., from a risk perspective."
At worst, Marcoccio says, there could be some minor disruptions for a few days in isolated areas. As for anyone considering stockpiling large amounts of food, he says, "Don't. Save your time and money instead."
Y2K warnings and advice for personal finances
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