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Dairy producers need more aid at right time

Photo by Anna Hastert

When Congress passed the latest infusion of money into COVID-19 relief, they made sure that farmers were included as small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through the Small Business Administration. However, that added more stress to the program as it meant more people applying for aid that already had a waiting list from the first round of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The Trump administration and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also announced $19 billion in relief for farmers and producers of several commodities. Like these other commodities, the Dairy industry is appreciative of the steps taken, but say more is going to be needed to curb the effects of this situation.

We have all heard the phrase “timing is everything.” That is a true statement. National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) spokesman Chris Galen says the timing being used in the USDA formulas for the $19 billion in COVID-19 assistance is not feasible, especially when it comes to meeting the needs of the dairy industry.

Galen says that the payment limits which all commodities are facing are “problematic” and “restrictive.” Galen adds that they are working to get Congressional support for more agricultural aid.

USDA is also taking bids on the $3 billion in food disbursements to food banks, which Galen says will include about $100 million in dairy products being distributed each month.

There is more information available for dairy producers at www.nmpf.org.

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