Latest on USDA Pandemic Assistance

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You likely saw USDA’s announcement of additional aid to agricultural producers and businesses as part of the USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Earlier this year, Secretary Vilsack announced plans to use available pandemic assistance funds to address a number of gaps and disparities in previous rounds of aid. As part of the Pandemic Assistance initiative announced in March, USDA pledged to continue Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments and to provide aid to producers and businesses left behind. Implementation of the assistance announced today will continue within 60 days to include support to timber harvesters, biofuels, dairy farmers and processors, livestock farmers and contract growers of poultry, assistance for organic cost share, and grants for PPE.

What we know at this point is up to $400 million will go toward a new dairy donation program with a focus on addressing food insecurity and food waste mitigation. There will also be additional pandemic payments for dairy farmers who demonstrate losses that were not covered under previous pandemic assistance. Implementation is also beginning on a provision of the appropriations legislation that provides $580 million in necessary cash flow assistance to small and midsized dairies through supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage. Many small and midsized dairies have grown their operations since their production history was established and locked in in previous farm bills (based on 2011 through 2013 milk marketings). This program is designed to allow for those smaller producers to qualify for additional coverage for a portion of their increases in milk production.
Stay tuned for how this might impact you as a dairy producer…we’ll know more in the next 60 days.