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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 says the butter supply is lower than usual: It fell about 20% from 2021. One cause is a slowdown in milk production. And the costs of cow feed and labor have gone up.

But experts say 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 who think there’s a shortage of something buy more of it. When enough people do this, it causes a real shortage.