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Secretary of Agriculture: Opportunity for Dairy Farmer COVID-19 Relief Closes September 30

09/23/2020

Harrisburg, PA – Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today reminded Pennsylvania dairy farmers that the deadline to apply for the CARES Act-funded Dairy Indemnity Program, which provides financial relief for losses due to discarded or displaced milk during the COVID-19 pandemic, is September 30, 2020.

"Early in the pandemic, our dairy industry was in a complete free-fall with no certainty," said Secretary Redding. "This program is providing much-needed relief to our farmers. If you know a dairy farmer that faced the hardship of dumping milk down the drain, urge them to apply for the Dairy Indemnity Program. This is not a hand out, it's a hand up."

The following are encouraged to apply for direct relief payments, losses must have occurred between March 6, 2020 and September 30, 2020:

  • Any dairy farmer that experienced financial losses due to discarded or displaced milk and has not previously applied;
  • Any dairy farmer who was assessed a fee by their cooperative for discarded milk and has not previously applied;
  • Any dairy farmer who previously applied in the above categories, but only applied for $1,500 in losses or has incurred additional losses since their first application;
  • Cooperatives that experienced a loss due to discarded milk on behalf of their member-producers and who have not yet assessed their member-producers for these losses may be eligible for reimbursement for those losses if funding is still available after all other claims have been paid.

Producers or cooperatives with questions about eligibility should contact Morgan Sheffield at

msheffield@pa.gov. Those ready to apply can do so online, by visiting the Resources tab found at agriculture.pa.gov/covid.

More than 1,300 applications have been submitted for the first round of $1,500 in direct relief. Losses above $1,500 will be paid with what remains from the $15 million that was allocated for this program at a pro-rated rate after the September 30 deadline, once all initial $1,500 payments are made.

Pennsylvania is home to nearly 7,000 dairy farms with an economic impact of $12 billion and more than 52,000 jobs. The commonwealth's more than 500,000 cows produce more than 10.2 billion pounds of milk annually, ranking Pennsylvania seventh in the nation for total milk production.

For information as it relates to agriculture during COVID-19 mitigation in Pennsylvania visit agriculture.pa.gov/COVID. For the most accurate, timely information related to Health in Pennsylvania, visit on.pa.gov/coronavirus.

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers – 717.783.2628

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