The National Milk Producers Federation expressed appreciation to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for including dairy in its $19 billion-dollar agriculture disaster assistance package released today while noting that more will be needed to stem steep losses in the dairy sector. NMPF staff are awaiting details of the plan, which appears to include financial aid for producers and purchases of at least $100 million per month in dairy products for distribution to the public.
“Federal dairy assistance is critically needed as the nation’s dairy farmers face an unprecedented collapse of markets resulting from the shutdown of much of the economy,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, the largest U.S. dairy-farmer organization. “The plan announced today should provide important relief to some producers, and we look forward to learning more of its details in coming days to fully understand its scope and implementation.”
“Dairy’s fortunes have been especially grim, given the perishability of our product, its daily harvest and the fact that the virtual shutdown of the food service market has wiped out more than one-third of our product demand. After five years of poor prices, many producers faced financial difficulties even before the coronavirus crisis. Without more aid, this crisis could be their demise. We hope to work with USDA and members of Congress on implementing this plan and on the further assistance that will inevitably be needed due to this deepening crisis.”
NMPF thanked the many members of Congress who weighed in during the process to urge USDA to provide robust assistance to dairy. “We are extremely grateful for the strong bipartisan, bicameral push from members of Congress across the country in support of a significant dairy aid package,” Mulhern said. “Their important efforts built on successful bipartisan passage of the CARES Act late last month, which set the stage for this aid to be provided, and we thank them for their tireless advocacy for dairy farmers.”
NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association developed a joint plan of assistance to farmers and processors that was sent to the department earlier this month.
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. NMPF’s member cooperatives produce more than two-thirds of U.S. milk, making NMPF dairy’s voice on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more, visit www.nmpf.org.