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Dairy Defined: With Congress at an Impasse, Look to USDA for Disaster Assistance, NMPF’s Bleiberg Says

September 14, 2020

Election-year politics is complicating efforts to push additional agriculture aid through Congress, but already-authorized spending may allow USDA to aid dairy farmers facing unstable roller-coaster prices and shifting supply chains, said Paul Bleiberg, NMPF’s vice president for government relations, in an NMPF podcast.

An announcement on what mix of disaster assistance and direct purchases farmers may receive is expected “very soon,” Bleiberg said. That spending was provided for in legislation passed earlier this year offering relief from coronavirus-related price and supply-chain disruptions. But for any additional infusions to occur, dairy farmers may need to pin their hopes on a spending bill Congress needs to pass to keep the government funded this year, rather than any broader coronavirus related program, he said.

“Political needs and pressures are going to dominate everything that happens in the Capitol,” he said. “They will find some path forward to keep the government funded past Sept. 30. Beyond that, I don’t expect too much to get done.”

Bleiberg also discusses dairy’s political strength in key swing states this year, and how dairy producers can make their voices heard on issues ranging from farm programs to fake milk, in the full podcast here. You can also find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify,  SoundCloud and Google Play. Broadcast outlets may use the MP3 file below. Please attribute information to NMPF.