USDA offers financial help to dairy farmers

December 30, 2009

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the implementation of the new Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment program.

The Agricultural Appropriations Bill authorized $290 million for loss assistance payments to eligible dairy producers.

Milk prices declined through early-to-mid-2009, with the national price for milk averaging $16.80 per hundredweight (cwt.) in the fourth quarter of 2008 and averaging $12.23 per cwt. in the first quarter of 2009, a 27-percent decline.

Then the price U.S. dairy producers received for milk marketed last summer was about half of what it cost them to produce milk.

More than 500 local farm families in Washington and Franklin counties are affected by this decline in income.

Eligible producers will receive a one-time direct payment based on the amount of milk both produced and commercially marketed by their operation during the months of February through July.


Production information from these months was doubled to estimate a full year's production for an operation to calculate the payments, using a 6-million pound per dairy operation limit.

Dairy producers who have production records at the USDA Farm Service Agency county office because they participated in the FSA MILC program do not need to apply for the program. FSA used existing production records to calculate and issue their payments on Dec. 21.

Producers who have not provided production data for those months to FSA, and have not already been contacted by FSA to provide such data, have until Jan. 19 to apply. To apply, a specific application form is not required. The request for benefits may be in the form of a letter or memo that includes the production data FSA needs to determine payment eligibility and payment amount. In addition to production data, the request for DELAP benefits must also include:

o The name and location of the dairy operation;

o Contact information for the dairy operation, including telephone number;

o Name, and share percentage for each entity or individual producer receiving a share of the payment.

The information must be mailed to the following address: Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs, FSA-USDA-STOP 0512, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-0512, ATTN: DELAP Program

The information may also be faxed to 202-690-1536, or e-mailed to

Once notified by the national office that a dairy producer has requested DELAP benefits, the local FSA office will complete a manual process to verify eligibility for each applicant submitting a request for benefits.

For more information and eligibility requirements on the program, visit the local FSA office at 1260 Maryland Ave., Suite 107, Hagerstown, or 100 Sunset Blvd. West, Chambersburg, Pa., or go to

The Herald-Mail Articles