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Additional Pandemic Payments Announced after Months of NMPF Advocacy

February 1, 2023

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) commended Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and leading congressional dairy advocates on Jan. 23 for providing $100 million in additional, targeted payments under the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program. The assistance will aid medium-sized and larger producers who missed out on equitable payments during the first round of assistance in 2021 and comes after nearly a year-and-a-half of NMPF effort in tandem with congressional allies.

“While losses due to the combination of unforeseen market circumstances and an inadequate Class I pricing system have not been fully remedied, USDA and congressional efforts will aid thousands of dairy producers who otherwise would have absorbed losses created by policies that didn’t work for them,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “It’s not every day that lawmakers step up and resolve a problem that could have been left to lie. We never gave up, and we’re pleased that others didn’t either.”

NMPF singled out for praise, along with Vilsack, Reps. Sanford Bishop (D-GA); Jim Costa (D-CA); David Valadao (R-CA); Kat Cammack (R-FL); Josh Harder (D-CA); Kim Schrier (D-WA); and Andy Harris (R-MD) as well as Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) for their efforts, which directly reflect their dedication to the dairy farmers who live in their districts and nationwide. “The leadership of these lawmakers, and others, were critical in ensuring that available USDA funds were directed toward their best use – making life fairer for dairy farmers,” Mulhern said. “It’s heartening to see such effective leadership for our industry on Capitol Hill as well as in the administration.”

In this round of payments, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will make PMVAP payments to eligible dairy farmers for fluid milk sales between 5 million and 9 million pounds from July through December 2020. This level of production was not eligible for payment under the first round of the PMVAP, which capped payments at 5 million pounds during that same period. Payment rates will be identical to the first round of payments, which distributed $250 million in assistance to 25,000 dairy farmers. This new round of payments will be made using the $100 million that remained unspent from the initial round.

USDA will again distribute monies through agreements with independent handlers and cooperatives, with reimbursement to handlers for allowed administrative costs. USDA will contact handlers with eligible producers to notify them of the opportunity to participate. More details on the program were included in an NMPF Member Alert sent on Jan. 24.

NMPF will continue in its efforts to remedy losses among dairy farmers of all sizes, as well as for those farmers unable to receive program funds because their milk was not pooled on a Federal Milk Marketing Order but still endured comparable price losses.