A CARES Act-funded dairy indemnity program has given $7.6 million in direct relief payments to 1,550 Pennsylvania dairy farmers who experienced losses due to discarded or displaced milk during COVID-19 pandemic.
“Early in the pandemic in Pennsylvania, many of our dairy farmers were forced to dump milk and faced extreme uncertainty due to rapidly changing markets,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “In this season of thanks, we are grateful that the legislature saw and met the needs of Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers with this program. These dollars don’t stop at the farm gate. They come back in your communities through grocery stores, schools, food banks, and more.”
Pennsylvania has nearly 7,000 dairy farms that employee 52,000 jobs and have an economic impact of $12 billion. With more than 500,000 cows that produce over 10.2 billion pounds of milk annually, the state is seventh in total milk production.
Those eligible to apply for the relief payments had to have had losses between March 6, 2020 through September 30, 2020.
“The dairy indemnity program, funded by the CARES Act, was a great program to help 1,550 of our farmers weather COVID-19,” Senators Judy Schwank said. “But there are nearly 7,000 dairy farms in the Commonwealth. We have to recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to strengthen the industry.”
“During this difficult time, there was an even greater appreciation for the role dairy farmers plays in our economy and to the families of Pennsylvania,” said Senator Elder Vogel. “It is the Commonwealth’s most essential industry and providing the necessary state funding at this time is more critical than ever.”