Help on way for 400 county dairy farmers

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

The Franklin County Farm Service Agency (FSA) is encouraging farmers to participate in the Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment (DELAP) program.  On Dec. 17 USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced implementation of the program, which is authorized for $290 million under the 2010 Agricultural Appropriations Bill. “Through this program, eligible dairy producers will receive economic assistance that will help stabilize their operations during these tough economic times,” said Vilsack. 

Milk prices declined nearly 27 percent through early to mid-2009, with the national milk price averaging $16.80 per hundredweight (cwt) in the fourth quarter of 2008 and $12.23 per cwt in the first quarter of 2009. The average price received by U.S. dairy producers for milk marketed in summer 2009 accounted for only half the cost of producing the milk.  Nearly 400 Franklin County dairy farms (most of them family operations) have been affected by this dramatic price decline.

The DELAP program provides eligible dairy producers with a one-time assistance payment.  To calculate payments, a producer's February-July 2009 milk production is doubled to estimate annual production.  Annual production then is multiplied by the national payment rate of $0.3211641 per cwt.  Payments may be made on no more than 6 million pounds of milk per operation.   

Participants in the FY2009 Milk Income Loss (MILC) program will receive DELAP funding automatically.  Franklin County FSA used production records already on file to calculate and issue DELAP payments to MILC participants on Dec. 22, 2009.  These payments, processed through the National Payment Service, may take several days to post to producer bank accounts. 

Persons wishing to request DELAP funding who did not participate in the 2009 MILC program must apply by January 19, 2010 by submitting a letter or memo that includes:  name and location of the dairy operation; contact information, including phone number; proof of February-July 2009 milk production; and the name and percentage share for the entity or individual producer(s) receiving a share in the payment.  Please contact the Franklin County FSA Office for details on submitting this information to the national office.

County FSA offices will verify applicant eligibility.  Producers and dairy operations in which the producer has a share must: have produced milk in the U.S.A and marketed it commercially at any time between February and July 2009; submit production records for those months; and certify to all milk produced and marketed by the operation during that time. 

For additional eligibility requirements and DELAP program details, please visit the Franklin County FSA office at 100 Sunset Blvd. West, Chambersburg or call (717) 264-8074, ext. 2.