USDA last week noted 7,700 dairy producers have applied for and have received $337 million in Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments.
Unsurprisingly, Wisconsin had the most farmers apply (1,741 farms) and also received the most funds at $79,913,261.40. In California, 339 farms applied and received $44,318,353.44 in funds. Interestingly, the average payment made to farms in Wisconsin was roughly $45,900, whereas the average payment made to California producers was $130,732. Obviously, this discrepancy is directly tied to a larger average herd size in California. (It’s important to note that these figures are solely for milk production.)
Dairy fared as well as any commodity in the benefits offered through CFAP.
“This is a very generous program,” says Marin Bozic, a dairy economist with the University of Minnesota. “Dairy farmers can be thankful to USDA for the way CFAP was designed and implemented. And they should be thankful to the National Milk Producers Federation and the Minnesota Milk Producers Association for raising payments caps.
“Of all the sectors, dairy did the very best or near the top of all commodities,” he says.
Bozic notes that dairy farmers will be eligible for $6.20/cwt for milk produced in January, February and March. They will receive additional benefits for dairy cattle sold and corn silage and high moisture corn they held in feed inventory January 15.
Bozic notes that the $6.20/benefit paid for each of three month’s production, totaling $18.60/cwt, is either more than or equal to what trade association groups had requested.
Farmers can now sign up for benefits through their Farm Service Agency offices. Once they do, they should receive a check in about 10 days for 80% of the benefit they are due. For milk, that benefit is $4.96/cwt. The remaining 20% of benefits is being held back to see how many total benefits are applied for. USDA had strict budget limits. If money is left over, remaining benefits will be paid out as a proportion of the amount of money left. Dairy farmers could get the full $1.24 benefit remaining, some or none of it, says Bozic.