For farms that lost milk income due to weather events the past few years, a recently announced U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will offer some relief. On Monday, USDA shared details about the anticipated Milk Loss Program that will be administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Farms that dumped milk or had milk removed without compensation because of qualifying weather events in 2020, 2021, and 2022 are eligible to apply. This includes consequences of those weather events that prevented delivery or storage of milk, such as power outages, impassable roads, and infrastructure losses.
“Frequent and widespread weather-related disasters over the past three years have impacted U.S. dairy,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux in a USDA press release. “The Milk Loss Program will help offset the economic loss by producers left with no other choice but dumping their milk during disasters.”
Qualifying events include droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms, freeze (including a polar vortex), and smoke exposure. Tornados are a qualifying disaster event for 2022 only. There is $10 billion of assistance available for crop losses, including milk, due to qualifying disasters that took place in 2020 and 2021. Another approximately $3 billion is available for 2022.
To apply, dairy producers must complete the FSA-376 Milk Loss Program Application. They also need to submit a milk marketing statement from the affected month and the month prior to when milk was removed or dumped. There also needs to be a detailed statement of the milk removal circumstances including the weather event, transportation limitations, and what was done with the removed milk. Producers who have not previously participated in FSA programs will need to complete a few additional items.
The sign-up period began on September 11, 2023, and is open until Monday, October 16, 2023. Producers affected by these qualifying events over the past three years are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible.