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NMPF Applauds Long-Awaited Assistance for Dairy Farmers Hard-Hit by Natural Disasters

September 11, 2023

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) applauded today’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide critical, long-awaited financial assistance for dairy farmers affected by natural disasters.

The Milk Loss Assistance program administered by the Farm Service Agency will compensate eligible dairy farms and processors for milk dumped due to qualifying disaster events in 2020, 2021 and 2022, including droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms and smoke exposure.

“On top of the challenges created by wild price gyrations and the COVID-19 pandemic, dairy farmers since 2020 have also faced an inadequate federal mechanism for addressing unforeseen weather catastrophes, further straining finances at a time when strains have been hard to bear,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “NMPF never accepted that situation, and we’re very appreciative of USDA’s diligent work over several months to finalize the compensation plan that will address this backlog of disaster assistance. We thank Congress for providing this necessary funding, and we encourage both Congress and USDA to find ways to address future natural disasters more quickly. We also urge farmers affected by these disasters to sign up, and we stand ready to assist them as they go through this process.”

As producers of a highly perishable product that’s created 24/7, 365 days a year, dairy farmers have been—and continue to be—uniquely challenged by disaster events. The Milk Loss Program will help farmers and, in certain cases, cooperatives, recover losses previously overlooked by disaster assistance.

Dairy farmers and cooperatives can sign up for the Milk Loss Program beginning Sept. 11 and running through Oct. 16, 2023. Affected producers are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. For eligibility and application information, as well as details about how payments will be calculated, visit USDA’s Milk Loss Assistance program announcement.