Harrisburg, PA – Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced that the CARES Act-funded Dairy Indemnity Program has distributed $7.6 million in direct relief payments to 1,550 dairy farmers in the commonwealth. Any dairy farmer who experienced losses due to discarded or displaced milk during the COVID-19 pandemic was eligible to apply.
“Early in the pandemic in Pennsylvania, many of our dairy farmers were forced to dump milk and faced extreme uncertainty due to rapidly changing markets,” said Redding. “In this season of thanks, we are grateful that the legislature saw and met the needs of Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers with this program. These dollars don’t stop at the farm gate. They come back in your communities through grocery stores, schools, food banks, and more.”
Senators Judy Schwank and Elder Vogel, chairs of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, championed this CARES-Act funding for Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers and joined today’s announcement.
“The dairy indemnity program, funded by the CARES Act, was a great program to help 1,550 of our farmers weather COVID-19,” Schwank said. “But there are nearly 7,000 dairy farms in the Commonwealth. We have to recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to strengthen the industry.”
“During this difficult time, there was an even greater appreciation for the role dairy farmers plays in our economy and to the families of Pennsylvania,” said Vogel. “It is the Commonwealth’s most essential industry and providing the necessary state funding at this time is more critical than ever.”
To qualify for direct relief payments, farmer’s losses must have occurred between March 6, 2020 and September 30, 2020. Farmers were eligible for an immediate $1,500 in direct relief upon applying, followed by additional relief dollars with the remaining funds in the program.
Pennsylvania is home to nearly 7,000 dairy farms with an economic impact of $12 billion and more than 52,000 jobs. The commonwealth’s more than 500,000 cows produce more than 10.2 billion pounds of milk annually, ranking Pennsylvania seventh in the nation for total milk production.
For information as it relates to agriculture during COVID-19 mitigation in Pennsylvania visit agriculture.pa.gov/COVID. For the most accurate, timely information related to Health in Pennsylvania, visit on.pa.gov/coronavirus.