Late last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended the deadline to sign up for the Milk Loss Program to the day before Halloween. The original five-week application period has been lengthened by two weeks, with a new deadline of Monday, October 30.

Administered by the Farm Service Agency, the Milk Loss Program (MLP) is available for farms that dumped milk or had milk removed without compensation because of qualifying weather events in 2020, 2021, and 2022. This includes the consequences of those weather events that prevented delivery or storage of milk, such as power outages, impassable roads, and infrastructure losses.

Droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms, freeze (including a polar vortex), and smoke exposure are considered qualifying events. Tornados are a qualifying disaster event for 2022 only. A total of $10 billion is available for crop losses, including milk, due to qualifying disasters that took place in 2020 and 2021. Approximately $3 billion is available for 2022.

“We recognize that MLP benefits are critical to the financial recovery of dairy operations significantly impacted by weather-related disasters that inhibited their ability to deliver or store their milk in one, or even multiple years,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux in a press release about the adjusted deadline. “We also understand that dairy farming is a 24/7, 365-day commitment. We hope the application deadline extension ensures that all dairy farmers in need of assistance will now have adequate time to apply.”

To apply, dairy producers must complete the FSA-376 Milk Loss Program Application and 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. A few additional forms will be needed for producers who have not previously participated in FSA programs.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2023

October 19, 2023

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