News Cast 3/23

News Cast for March 23rd:

Okeechobee dairy industry begins to recover

The milk is flowing again after the shutdowns earlier this year.

Travis Senn with Southeast Milk, the company that transports all the dairy products produced  in Okeechobee, said at the beginning of this pandemic, it was tough for dairies to keep store shelves stocked.

That changed dramatically with the closure of restaurants.

Demand went down and dairies had to dump 300 loads of milk.

Senn said milk for making cheese ended up dominating the dairy market last year.

“When we had that initial shutdown everyone was at home and retail milk demand shot through the roof.  Trying to catch up to that demand was one of the most bizarre market occurrences I’ve ever seen.”

Publix and the government purchased some of the milk supply and donated the milk to food banks to help people who were struggling to put food on the table.

“There were so many different challenges.  To see the community come together like that last year was a heartwarming experience.”

Commissioner Culpepper announces retirement

Okeechobee County Commissioner Bryant Culpepper said he will retire from the County Commission at the end of the month.

He said he decided to resign due to health reasons.

He was serving his 11th year on the commission.

“I’ve never walked away from that job until that job is finished.  I always let the people decide if they wanted me to continue.”

Culpepper was elected to three terms on the commission.

He said he has lost a couple of good friends in the past few months due to health problems and noticed how it hurt their families.

He added he’d like to spend more time with his family and do some traveling.

He praised his fellow commissioners for working well together and for making improvements to Okeechobee.

He listed the wooden jungle, sidewalks in Basswood, and his work to develop Okee-Tantie as some of his top accomplishments in office.

The governor will get the opportunity to appoint a commissioner or the seat will remain vacant until the 2022 election.