Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative and the Dairy Business Association welcomed the announcement today by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue of details regarding direct financial help for farmers hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the plan, payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will be capped at $250,000 per individual or legal entity. Initially, the limits were described as $125,000 per commodity per farmer with a total cap of $250,000 per farmer. Payments will be prorated, with 80 percent paid initially and the remainder at a later date as funds remain available.
Signup for the program begins May 26 and money will start moving as soon as a week later.
Edge and DBA are reviewing other details of the plan and its likely impact on members. The sister organizations, which represent dairy farms of all sizes and related businesses in the Midwest, pushed for direct payments and called for no caps.
“This financial assistance cannot come soon enough. The unprecedented negative effects of the pandemic on the food supply chain and milk prices have left our dairy farmers hurting like never before. This direct support will help these essential businesses continue the critical work of producing wholesome food for our nation.
“We are pleased that USDA heeded calls for higher payments, which will make more dairy farmers eligible for assistance closer to their actual losses. Still, there is more work to be done to ensure that all farms are treated equitably. It is vital that our dairy farmers, no matter the size of their businesses, be made as close to whole as possible and as soon as possible. The payment program will no doubt help but not completely, and we will work further with Congress and the administration on filling the remaining gaps so dairy farmers have all the resources possible to repair the damage done by COVID-19.
“We thank Secretary Perdue and the team at USDA for their diligence in implementing the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which will help farmers and people in need of food during this national emergency. We look forward to continuing to work with the agency all the way down to the local level to support a swift signup for farmers and a strong recovery for the dairy community.”
USDA announcement: Press release
Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative provides dairy farmers throughout the Midwest with a powerful voice — the voice of milk — in Congress, with customers and within their communities. Edge, based in Green Bay, Wis., is one of the top cooperatives in the country based on milk volume.
The Dairy Business Association is the leading dairy lobby group in Wisconsin, focused on advocating for sensible state laws and regulations that affect the dairy community. The nonprofit organization is comprised of dairy farmers, milk processors, vendors and other business partners who work collaboratively to ensure that dairy farms of all sizes have the support they need to keep America’s Dairyland strong.