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USDA announces dairy relief program

By Feedstuffs, USA | FarmOnline.com

In an effort to assist struggling dairy farmers, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment (DELAP) program.

The 2010 Agricultural Appropriations Bill authorized $290 million for loss assistance payments to eligible dairy producers.

Milk prices declined substantially 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 per cent decline.

On average, the price US dairy producers received for milk marketed in the summer of 2009 was about half of what it cost them to produce milk.

"This is an essential stop-gap measure that will help many dairy farmers stay in business in the short-term," said Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson, (D., Minn,).

"Looking forward, it is obvious that our existing dairy programs are not providing an adequate safety net for dairy farmers, and we need to look at ways we can reform dairy policy to ensure that it provides adequate support for the long term success of the industry.

"There are few easy solutions, but I am committed to working with the dairy industry to consider appropriate changes that we can include in the next Farm Bill."

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