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Jan 6, 2010 4:50 PM by Rob Kirkpatrick

$29 Million In Assistance Announced For Dairy Farmers

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said he is pleased the USDA has chosen to implement the Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment Program (DELAP) that will distribute $290 million to eligible dairy farmers.

The measure was suggested by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) in Sept. 2009 as part of the "Meat the Need" plan designed to address critical economic saturation of American dairy, pork and poultry products and provide nutritional assistance to Americans facing hunger due to job loss and other economic hardships.

Strain, who attended the NASDA conference, said DELAP payments were based on milk produced during the period of Feb. 2009 through July 2009.

Altogether, dairy farmers received 32 cents per hundred weight for their milk produced during the period.

Checks were mailed to dairy farmers in late December, Strain said.

The USDA will also purchase $60 million in cheese and cheese products through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and distribute the product to domestic food assistance programs.

The large purchase of cheese for domestic food assistance programs was a key part of NASDA's "Meat the Need" plan.

"The hope is that the large purchase of cheese will remove oversupply and redistribute it to food assistance programs and help stabilize dairy prices," Strain said.

NASDA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association that represents the commissioners, secretaries and directors of the state departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. As regulators of significant aspects of our nation's agriculture industry, NASDA members are actively involved in ensuring the safety of an abundant food supply, protection of animal and plant health, stewardship of our environment and promoting the vitality of our rural communities.

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