05 March 2022, Washington: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is disbursing funds to handlers to provide much-needed financial assistance to the dairy industry through the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program (PMVAP) that is providing more than $300 million in assistance to help the dairy industry recover from the pandemic. After receiving the payments, handlers have 30 days to make payments to their eligible dairy farmer suppliers. Handlers began payments to farmers in January. Over 60 percent of the agreements were processed and paid in January and February. The remainder will be paid in March.
“I am pleased to announce that the majority of the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program funds are flowing to farmers and that remaining payments will be made soon,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “Dairy farmers worked throughout the pandemic to keep food on America’s tables, and this program is an important piece of USDA’s comprehensive targeted recovery assistance for dairy producers.”
Under the PMVAP, payments will reimburse qualified dairy farmers on an annual production of up to five million pounds of milk, for 80 percent of revenue losses for fluid milk sales from July 2020 through December 2020. The payment rate will vary by region based on the actual losses on pooled milk related to price volatility.
USDA is making payments through agreements with independent handlers and cooperatives. Throughout the fall and winter, handlers have been working with the department to gather and submit data needed to calculate and distribute PMVAP monies to eligible dairy farmers. Program details can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/pmvap.
In addition, the department is disbursing payments under the Dairy Donation Program (DDP). The DDP was authorized by the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act to provide $400 million in funding to facilitate dairy product donations and reduce food waste.
Under the DDP, eligible dairy organizations can partner with nonprofit feeding organizations that distribute food to individuals and families in need. Those partnerships may apply for and receive reimbursements to cover some expenses related to eligible dairy product donations.
Entities previously enrolled with the Milk Donation Reimbursement Program are eligible to receive a supplemental payment on donations made since January 1, 2020, that equals the difference between the DDP and MDRP payment rates. Supplemental payments to qualifying handlers have already been made.
The program accepts applications on a rolling basis and processes claims on a quarterly basis. Quarterly reporting on program participation and funds disbursed will begin in April 2022. Program details can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/ddp.
These programs are part of $6 billion of pandemic assistance USDA announced in 2021 to address a number of gaps and disparities in previous rounds of assistance. Other pandemic assistance to dairy farmers includes $580 million for Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage for small and medium farms.