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Coronavirus Response Plan Provides Welcome Aid for Dairy; NMPF Thanks Congress

March 25, 2020

The National Milk Producers Federation commended members of Congress for successfully crafting a bipartisan package to provide support and relief during the coronavirus pandemic to all Americans, including dairy and other agricultural producers who are working night and day to provide a steady, safe supply of food to consumers nationwide.

“Dairy farmers have worked 24/7 to produce safe, affordable, and nutritious products for families throughout the coronavirus crisis, even as their own economic outlook grows darker,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF, the largest organization of U.S. dairy farmers. “Forecasts for milk prices have dropped significantly in the past month, with greater declines possible as the COVID-19 outbreak continues. We are very grateful that Congress understands the significant economic challenges our farmers face and is rising to that challenge on a bipartisan basis.”

Congress is expected to pass quickly the Senate’s coronavirus relief package, released today. The measure creates a $9.5 billion coronavirus agricultural disaster fund that specifically includes livestock and dairy producers, as well as critical assistance to small businesses that are a key link in the entire dairy supply chain. This essential funding will boost finances – and morale – at a crucial time, given the likelihood of widespread economic damage that may affect consumer demand and international trade. The bill also provides $14 billion in additional funding for the Commodity Credit Corporation that USDA can use to assist producers.

“We commend the bipartisan Senate negotiations that produced this outcome. We especially wish to thank Senators Chuck Schumer and Debbie Stabenow for ensuring that dairy farmers will receive significant support,” Mulhern said. “Their work greatly improved this bill. We look forward to its passage.”

NMPF is also grateful to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson for putting forward multiple dairy provisions in the House of Representatives that will be helpful as the coronavirus-driven economic situation evolves, and to Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson for his ongoing advocacy and work during this challenging process.

NMPF also commended Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for his Department’s proactive, ongoing work to help agriculture manage the impacts of COVID-19. “Secretary Perdue and his team have worked tirelessly to assist dairy and all of agriculture as we deal with the challenges of this pandemic by taking actions across the scope of the agency to provide flexibility and assistance. We are very thankful for their collaboration,” Mulhern said.

NMPF looks forward to working with Congress and the Trump Administration on the additional legislative and administrative responses that are anticipated in upcoming weeks.