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$3.4 Million To Assist Wisconsin Producers

28 October 2010

US - Officials at the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) have said that the department will begin distributing $3.4 million in direct assistance to Wisconsin dairy farmers through phase III of the Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment Programme (DELAP), which was included in the FY10 Agricultural Appropriations bill

Immediately after dairy prices crashed in late 2008 and early 2009, local Senators led a bipartisan effort to push the USDA to take a variety of actions to lessen the blow to dairy farmers including making emergency dairy product purchases and supporting US dairy exports.

As Chairman of the Senate Agricultural Appropriations Committee, Senator Kohl worked with members of the delegation to include $350 million for DELAP in the FY10 Agricultural Appropriations bill. $290 million of this funding was used for direct payments to producers and the remaining $60 million was used for dairy product purchases aimed at boosting milk prices.

"This announcement is welcome news for Wisconsin dairy farmers who have watched milk prices crash and remain low, while their costs remain high," Senator Feingold said.

"This funding will provide welcome relief for small and medium sized dairy farms that are so common in Wisconsin. I worked alongside Senator Kohl to support targeted assistance like this and the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) safety net, which are so crucial to our farm families and in turn to Wisconsin's economy. More than $1 out of every $5 in these programs has gone directly into the pockets of Wisconsin's dairy farmers and then flows into our rural economies. While it doesn't completely make up for the months of major losses, this assistance is an important step in helping farmers continue farming and rebound from a difficult period."

"Dairy prices have not recovered as quickly as projected earlier this year. Wisconsin dairy producers are still experiencing low prices and high production costs." Senator Kohl said. "This funding will help farmers get back on their feet and continue in the age old tradition of dairy farming in Wisconsin."

DELAP has provided payments to assist eligible dairy producers who have experienced low milk prices and high production costs this year. Under the programme, assistance to eligible producers was scheduled in three phases.

Phase I payments were issued to eligible dairy producers who had production records from previous participation in dairy programmes on file with FSA.

Phase II payments went to producers who did not have production records, but submitted a request for DELAP benefits before the application deadline of Jan. 19, 2010.

Phase III payments will be disbursed to dairy producers that received benefits under Phase I or Phase II. Wisconsin producers received $59.8 million of the total $290 million in payments under the programme.

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