Dairy farmers could qualify for additional COVID and DMC payments
The USDA has announced additional assistance for dairy farmers and improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage Program.
About $350 million dollars are available through a new Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance program for farmers who were impacted by government purchase price swings.
Ag Secretary Vilsack spoke on how the department will support dairy farmers during a Senate Ag Appropriations hearing in June. “To reduce the differential that occurred between Class I and Class III milk pricing because of a disproportionate purchases of cheese during the Food Box effort,” he explains.
Qualifying farmers could be reimbursed 80 percent of the revenue different per month based on annual production up to five million pounds of milk marketed between June and December last year.
USDA says the program is part of a $2 billion plan to help the dairy industry recover from the pandemic.
The agency is also updating the feed cost formula in the Dairy Margin Coverage program to better reflect actual costs dairy farmers pay for high-quality alfalfa. The change is retroactive to January 2020 and is expected to provide about $100 million for 2020 and 2021.
The National Milk Producers Federation is grateful for the announcements saying the government’s COVID-19 response created unprecedented price volatility which cost dairy farmers nationwide more than $750 million from what they would have been paid under the previous 2014 Farm Bill system.
Republican Leader of the House Agriculture Committee, Glenn “GT” Thompson of Pennsylvania says the improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage program will provide meaningful assistance to producers and add to the baseline for the next Farm Bill. He says more work is needed to help producers of all sizes—both in dairy and other agricultural markets.