CONCORD - Dairy farmers whose livelihoods
have been jeopardized by low milk prices and high production costs will be able
to take advantage of the USDA's Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Program that
went into effect Thursday, according to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
Eligible dairy producers will receive a one-time direct payment based on the amount of milk both produced and commercially marketed by their operation during the months of February through July 2009.
Milk prices declined substantially through early to mid-2009, with the national price for milk averaging $16.80 per hundredweight in the fourth quarter of 2008 and averaging $12.23 per cwt. in the first quarter of 2009 - a 27 percent decline. On average, the price U.S. dairy producers received for milk marketed in the summer of 2009 was about half of what it cost them to produce milk.
New Hampshire's approximately 130 dairy farms produce 40 million gallons of milk every year, which results in around $53 million in annual revenue for the state of New Hampshire, according to Rep. Paul Hodes' office.
The aid was made possible by a $350 million increase to the Farm Service Agency budget - $290 million of which was assistance to farmers and $60 million went to purchasing cheese and other dairy products for food banks.
For more information and eligibility requirements on the new DELAP program, contact the local FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.