“It was… quite a surprise, because it was a substantial amount taken out. Dairy farmers cannot afford anymore deductions taken out of a milk check,” said Pavelski. “It couldn’t have come at a worse time for dairy farmers.” The national average price of milk in 2019 was $3.45 per gallon for conventional whole milk, compared to $3.27 in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (WBNG) — Dairy farmers across the Southern Tier have been seeing a big deduction on their milk checks from large organizations on top of all the other expenses they have to pay. “Basically when you do go to the mailbox, you might have $2.90 taken off your milk check, so if it’s $18 dollar [per hundredweight], you might be down $14 and right now milk is $11 [per hundredweight] and with the COVID-19 deduction, it brings it down to $9.30 [per hundredweight], which is just unreal,” said Pavelski. Derek Pavelski owns Pavelski Farms in Conklin. He says he didn’t expect to see that deduction and was devastated the moment he noticed it on his letter. 12 News reached out to Dairy Farmers of America. It is unclear at this time how much prices of dairy products, especially milk, would change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one employee at the organization did confirm that COVID-19 deduction on dairy farmers checks was a one-time deal to help cover costs. He says originally he’d get a decent amount per hundredweight of milk that he produced. Now, many farmers who rely on organizations like National Farmers and Dairy Farmers of America, saw a big COVID-19 deduction on their milk checks. Some reported more than a thousand dollars off their total. Dairy farmers were expected to see a better year in 2020 with milk prices expected to rise, but the pandemic got in the way of all that with a lower demand for the product.