Following Rep. Delgado Push, USDA Announces $350 Million in USDA Funding for Dairy Farmers Impacted by Class I Mover-Related Losses

August 19, 2021
Press Release

RHINEBECK, NY – In July, US Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) led 24 members of Congress to call on the President to reimburse dairy producers impacted by Class I mover-related losses. Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the details of the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program. Through the program, USDA will provide about $350 million in pandemic assistance payments to dairy farmers who received a lower value for their products due to market abnormalities caused by the pandemic.

“Our dairy farmers, especially small and mid-sized producers in the Northeast Region, have been seriously impacted by losses throughout the pandemic,” said Rep. Delgado. “I am proud to lead the effort to deliver reimbursement to dairy farmers in upstate and across the United States. Thank you, Secretary Vilsack, for listening to the dairy farmers of New York's 19th Congressional District and providing this much-needed support.”

“The Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program is another component of our ongoing effort to get aid to producers who have been left behind and build on our progress towards economic recovery,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Today’s announcement is due in no small part to the advocacy Congressman Delgado, Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Gillibrand. Family dairy farmers have been battered by the pandemic, trade issues and unpredictable weather and are the life-blood of many rural communities throughout New York, the Northeast and many other regions. This targeted assistance is the first step in USDA’s comprehensive approach that will total over $2 billion to help the dairy industry recover from the pandemic and be more resilient to future challenges for generations to come.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic turned dairy markets upside down last year and caused dairy farmers to suffer from significant losses that they otherwise would not have endured. As a family dairy farmer, I am grateful to Congressman Antonio Delgado for working to secure this reimbursement of those losses for producers. His advocacy has made a real difference for Upstate New York dairy producers,” said Denise Lloyd, Maple Downs Farms II, Middleburgh, NY.

“The Class I mover enacted in the 2018 Farm Bill was not intended to harm dairy farmer revenue, but the price inversions that developed last year during the COVID-19 pandemic saddled producers nationwide with losses exceeding $725 million. We thank Representative Antonio Delgado for his effective advocacy on behalf of dairy producers both in Upstate New York and across the country. Thanks to his proactive efforts, dairy farmers can now start to recoup these significant losses that impacted so many,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation.

Under the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program, payments will reimburse qualified dairy farmers for 80 percent of the revenue difference per month based on an annual production of up to 5 million pounds of milk marketed and on fluid milk sales from July through December 2020. The payment rate will vary by region. USDA will make payments through agreements with independent handlers and cooperatives.

USDA will contact eligible handlers and cooperatives to notify them of the opportunity to participate in the Program and will distribute payments to participating handlers within 60 days of entering into an agreement. As part of the program, handlers also will provide virtual or in-person education to dairy farmers on a variety of dairy topics available from USDA or other sources.

Click here for additional details about the program.