PRESS RELEASE: Senator Feingold's statement on the USDA’s New Direct Payment Program
WASHINTON DC (PRESS RELEASE)-- U.S. Senator Russ Feingold released the following statement today on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment (DELAP) program. Feingold supported the emergency appropriation of $290 million in direct payments to eligible dairy farmers as part of the agriculture appropriations bill as the latest step to shore up the safety net for dairy farmers this year. "This announcement is welcome news for Wisconsin farmers. After a very challenging year, this new program will ensure that small and medium sized dairy farms in Wisconsin receive the assistance they need to survive the winter as they hope for improving prices in the new year.
I worked alongside Senator Kohl and Congressman Obey in support of this assistance, which is so crucial to the farmers who are so important to Wisconsin's economy. While nothing can really 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," Feingold said.
Supporting the DELAP program is the latest in a series of actions Senator Feingold has taken to help dairy farmers weather an extremely difficult year of relatively high input prices combined with prolonged, extremely low prices for their milk.
The new DELAP program is targeted toward small and medium dairy farmers, who are common in Wisconsin. It is similar to the Milk Income Loss Contract program that sends one of every five dollars paid nationally to Wisconsin farms. According to the Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics Service, Wisconsin dairy farms have an average herd size of 97 cows and an average monthly production of 1,675 pounds of milk per cow. USDA estimates that the DELAP payment rate will be approximately $0.32 per hundred pounds of milk. Based on these figures it is estimated that an average dairy farm in Wisconsin would receive more than $6,200 from the program. Specific payments will be calculated directly from actual farm milk production based on a formula developed by USDA . More information available at: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?contentidonly=true&contentid=2009/12/0619.xml.