The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a new reimbursement program to help dairy farmers.
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Dairy cows in a pasture. (AP) Associated Press

According to a release, this program is available for dairy producers who participate in the federal Dairy Margin Coverage Program.

The new Virginia Dairy Producers Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program can reimburse dairies for the premium payment they made for the federal program at the tier 1 level.

Dairy is one of Virginia’s top commodities, with the Commonwealth’s industry producing nearly 1.5 billion pounds of milk eat year, according to 2019 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cash receipts for dairy products in Virginia are more than $290 million.

The release says that ongoing changes in domestic demand, declines in exports, and the disruption of market channels and product demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have made the challenges dairy farmers have faced in recent years worse.

Tony Banks, the senior assistant director of agriculture, development and innovation for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation says the state has probably lost about 20 percent of its dairy farms.

He said this new program will allow some dairy farmers, who otherwise would not be able, to participate in the federal DMC program.

Applications for this program will be available in the fall, and eligible producers will be notified directly about it.

Eligible dairy farmers will include those with a certified resource or nutrient management plan and those who participate in the federal program at the tier 1 level.

Applications will be due by Feb. 1, 2022.

The release says $1 million in funding has been set aside for the current fiscal year, and it will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Last month, 14 of our dairy farms in Maine, as well as dozens of dairy farms across northern New England, got an unexpected and disappointing notice from Danone of North America saying that they were discontinuing their contracts with our organic dairy farmers in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and elsewhere.

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