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USDA announces additional dairy assistance

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Two programs will provide nearly $200 million for producers.

Two new investments announced by USDA will allocate close to $200 million for dairy producer assistance. Nearly $100 million will come in the form of payments from the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program. An additional $100 million will come from the newly created Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program. Both programs are intended to support small and medium-sized dairy operations that face post-pandemic challenges. USDA Under Secretary for Marking and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffit says it’s part of the Biden-Harris administration’s continuing commitment to fill gaps in pandemic assistance for producers.

This will be the second round of PMVAP payments. The $350 million program assists producers who received a lower value due to the pandemic and related federal policies. Eligible recipients include dairy farmers with fluid milk sales of five million to nine million pounds between July and Dec. 2020. These producers were not eligible for the first round of PMVAP payments, which were only allocated to those producing up to five million pounds.

The new ODMAP is a USDA Farm Serve Agency effort to help smaller organic dairy farmers facing higher costs and additional challenges compounded by the pandemic and drought. It will be funded by unused Commodity Credit Corporation allocations left over from previous pandemic assistance programs. USDA says that the program will benefit producers with up to 75% of their future marketing costs this year based on national estimates. Additional details of the program are still being developed.

National Milk Producers Federation President Jim Mulhern applauded the announcements. He said that while losses due to unforeseen market conditions and an inadequate Class I pricing systems have not been fully remedied, he believes the latest USDA and congressional efforts will aid thousands of dairy producers. Otherwise, they would have absorbed losses created by policies that didn’t work for them.

Mulhern singled out Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Reps. Sanford Bishop, Jim Costa, David Valadao, Kat Cammack, Josh Harder, Kim Schrier and Andy Harris and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Patty Murray for their efforts to help dairy farmers. He added it was heartening to see such effective leadership from congress and the Biden administration.

“It’s not every day that lawmakers step up and resolve a problem that could have been left to lie,” Mulhern said. “We never gave up, and we’re pleased that others didn’t either.”

 

TAGS: Policy
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