Dairy farmers and industry professionals are monitoring public health and responding to market effects as coronavirus continues to shape every aspect of American life. This page offers NMPF-created and NMPF-curated resources focused on dairy’s response to the pandemic.
In keeping with our mission of serving our members, NMPF will continue to work with lawmakers and regulators to ensure a safe and adequate supply of milk and to mitigate economic harm to dairy farmers during this challenging time.
Coronavirus has been devastating to all of agriculture and the U.S. economy, and it’s brought particular damage to dairy. The collapse of food-service business overwhelmed the increased support dairy farmers received from consumers in grocery stores, creating a financial crisis for many dairies.
The federal government has forcefully responded to dairy’s coronavirus crisis, offering payments to producers and purchases of dairy products, along with replenished loan programs that will assist dairy businesses. Still, more work will be needed to help offset the economic damage of this pandemic. Continued relief for dairy farmers is critical for their businesses to get back on the road to recovery. Here are a couple of ways you can help:
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) on April 17. CFAP will use funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and other USDA existing authorities. This $19 billion immediate relief program includes direct support to agricultural producers as well as the Food Box Distribution Program.
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
USDA is accepting CFAP applications through September 11, 2020. Call and set up an appointment with your local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to determine your eligibility and to apply for this assistance.
Dairy farmers are eligible for funding for U.S. Small Business Administration loans through the Paycheck Protection Program and COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program
The SBA is accepting EIDL and EIDL Advance applications. Funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The Paycheck Protection Program resumed accepting applications in response to President signing the program’s extension legislation. The deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan is August 8, 2020.
Dairy farms are 24-hour, 7-day per week businesses, and operations must continue. Following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) precautions will minimize the risk to dairy farmers, family, employees and essential professional and service providers to be on the farm.
Agriculture was identified as essential critical infrastructure by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on March 19; as such, dairy employees have a special responsibility in these times to continue operations. The full list of industries and DHS guidance can be accessed here.
NMPF has crafted a template work permit for food and agriculture employees that explains the DHS guidance and asks relevant authorities to grant employees permission to travel to and from work. Along with the permit itself, the document also defines who is considered a food and agriculture employee for critical-infrastructure purposes.
Workforce Coronavirus Prevention and Management
The CDC provides clear guidance about preventing infection in both English and Spanish. It also provides a number of printable factsheets and posters in both languages suitable for workplace use. Below are resources dairy farmers are encouraged to review and use:
Milk Reduction and Disposal
The CDC has developed Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to plan, prepare and respond to COVID-19. The guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19 and provides planning considerations should widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19 occur.
All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect workers from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations. During a COVID-19 outbreak, all sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be encouraged, and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed regularly.
Hours of service rules for truck drivers transporting emergency supplies of food returned to normal June 15.
The American Trucking Associations has developed a COVID-19 webpage with relevant alerts, facts, and answers to frequently asked questions for industry stakeholders to use as a resource during this pandemic. The page is updated regularly with new information, and is a great source for issues regarding truck stop closings, state and federal declarations, Congressional actions and other developments that may be impacting truck drivers during this time. Additional hauling resources are listed below.
In the News: