To the delight of many in our industry, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced two initiatives to strengthen its support of dairy operators. In addition to offering a second round of payments through the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program (PMVAP), the USDA has created a new Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program (ODMAP).
“The Biden-Harris administration continues to fulfill its commitments to fill gaps in pandemic assistance for producers. USDA is announcing a second set of payments of nearly $100 million to close-out the $350 million commitment under PMVAP through partnerships with dairy handlers and cooperatives to deliver the payments,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “USDA is also announcing new assistance targeted to small- to medium-size organic dairy farmers to help with anticipated marketing costs as they face a variety of challenges from weather to supply-chain challenges.”
The new ODMAP, to be administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), is intended to help smaller organic dairy farms that have faced a unique set of challenges and higher costs over the past several years. FSA plans to provide payments to cover a portion of their estimated marketing costs for 2023. Final spending will depend on enrollment and projected production, but ODMAP has been allocated up to $100 million, a release stated. The assistance will be provided through unused Commodity Credit Corporation funds.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will also make PMVAP payments to eligible dairy farmers for fluid milk sales between 5 million and 9 million pounds from July through December 2020. This level of production was not eligible for payment under the first round of the PMVAP, which distributed over $250 million in payments to over 25,000 dairy farmers.
“Unprecedented shocks to global trade necessitate action and this action is critically necessary to ensure the livelihood of many organic dairy farmers. Organic dairy farmers are facing catastrophic economic challenges as the availability of organic feedstuffs has declined dramatically, resulting in costs climbing significantly over the past 18 months,” the Organic Trade Association stated in a separate press release. “...we thank USDA for urgently recognizing the unique needs of organic producers.”
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