USDA has announced a new program to help dairy operations recover from disaster events in 2020, 2021 and 2022. 

The Milk Loss Program, or MLP, will offer assistance through USDA's Farm Service Agency to “eligible dairy operations for milk that was dumped or removed, without compensation, from the commercial milk market due to qualifying weather events and the consequences of those weather events that inhibited delivery or storage of milk” during the three calendar years, such as power outages, impassable roads and infrastructure losses, according to a USDA news release.

Specified weather events include droughts, floods, freezes and smoke damage.

Milk producers “continue to face supply chain issues, high feed and input costs, labor shortages, and market volatilities,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. The MLP “will help offset the economic loss by producers left with no other choice but dumping their milk during disasters.” 

The duration of claims is limited to 30 days for each calendar year mentioned.

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“Each MLP application covers the loss in a single calendar month,” FSA said. “Milk loss that occurs in more than one calendar month due to the same qualifying weather event requires a separate application for each month.”

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern said the group welcomed the relief, which is badly needed by many producers. 

“On top of the challenges created by wild price gyrations and the COVID-19 pandemic, dairy farmers since 2020 have also faced an inadequate federal mechanism for addressing unforeseen weather catastrophes, further straining finances at a time when strains have been hard to bear,” Mulhern said in a statement.

Applications for the Milk Loss Program will be accepted until Oct. 16.

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