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Got Butter?

LOWER SUPPLY U.S. butter stocks are lower than normal. But the dairy industry says a shortage is unlikely. STEPHEN GIBSON—EYEEM/GETTY IMAGES

The United States Department of Agriculture tracks the butter supply. It’s lower than usual this year. It fell about 20% from 2021. One cause is a slowdown in milk production. Also, the cost of cow feed has gone up.

Experts say not to worry. Butter producers can meet the holiday demand. “We’ve been down this road before, where we’ve had tight supplies of a variety of [dairy] products,” Matt Herrick says. He’s a senior vice president at the International Dairy Foods Association.

Herrick says a butter shortage is unlikely. But it could happen if people panic. Remember the toilet paper shortage at the start of the pandemic? Sometimes, people worry about a shortage of something. So they buy more than they need. When enough people do this, it causes a real shortage.