Last Friday, New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker announced that applications are available for $30 million in state assistance for New York dairy farmers. Funding for the New York State Dairy Assistance Program was included in the 2007-08 State Budget to provide a direct payment to dairy farmers for milk produced during the 2006 calendar year.

Dairy farmers experienced one of the worst years on record in 2006, Hooker says, “and continue to struggle with low prices, escalating cost and acquired debt from the past year. We realize that time is of the essence and therefore our goal is to get this $30 million into the pockets of dairy farmers as soon and as fairly as possible.”

Producers are encouraged to get applications completed accurately and in the mail by April 27.
     
All New York dairy farmers who produced milk in 2006 and were in operation as of April 1 are eligible to apply. Applications will be sent to dairy producers through their cooperative or processor. Those producers who do not belong to a cooperative can obtain an application at their county Farm Service Agency office. 

You can also download the application off the Department’s website at: www.agmkt.state.ny.us Or request a copy by calling (800) 554-4501. Applications are to be delivered to the Department or postmarked no later than April 27.
     
In an effort to distribute the funds timely and fairly, the ag department will establish a rate of payment per hundredweight once applications are received. 

The payment rate will be calculated by dividing the available funds by the pounds of eligible milk produced in 2006. Payments to eligible producers will be calculated by multiplying the payment rate by the total number of pounds of milk produced in 2006, up to 4.8 million pounds. The payment rate is estimated to be in the range of $.30 to $.35 per hundredweight.

It is anticipated that payments will be mailed by May 9 to all eligible producers who provided complete applications and accurate production data by the deadline. Payments will be issued by the New York State Empire State Development Corporation. Should any funds remain after all eligible producers have been paid, they will be distributed to producers in a subsequent payment.

New York Department of Agriculture and Markets