Gillibrand calls on USDA to fast-track Farm Bill implementation

Bill provides much-needed relief to dairy farmers, other producers across New York state as soon as possible

Gillibrand Successfully Secured Funding for Dairy Farmers in Last Year’s Farm Bill, Urges USDA to Expedite Payments to Put Money Back into the Pockets of New York Dairy Farmers Who Paid into a Failed System

After the government shutdown stalled the enactment of critical Farm Bill provisions, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fast-track Farm Bill implementation and provide much-needed relief to dairy farmers and other producers across New York State as soon as possible.

“Our dairy farmers in New York have been hurting for years. They work extremely hard but have been suffering from historically low milk prices, a reckless trade war, and a failed dairy insurance program that did nothing to help them when they needed it,”said Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “When Congress passed the Farm Bill last year and included my provision to refund insurance payments into the failed dairy insurance program, it was finally some good news for dairy farmers, but because of the government shutdown, they haven’t seen a penny of the refunds that they’re owed. Our dairy farmers urgently need relief, and I am calling on the USDA to start implementing the dairy provisions of the Farm Bill today.”

The Farm Bill included provisions to help provide relief to dairy farmers in New York and across the country who have been suffering from historically low milk prices, including a major provision that Gillibrand fought for and secured to put money back into the pockets of dairy farmers who paid into a failed insurance system, the Margin Protection Program, and got nothing in return when milk prices fell. During the recent government shutdown, the USDA was unable to begin issuing these premium refunds to dairy farmers. The USDA also was unable to begin enacting other new Farm Bill programs, including the new and improved Dairy Margin Coverage insurance program.

Specifically, Gillibrand urged the USDA to do the following in order to quickly provide relief for farmers:

  1. Issue direct premium refunds to farmers who purchased MPP coverage for any of the calendar years from 2014 through 2017.
  2. Open the enrollment period for the new DMC insurance program that is replacing replace the old Dairy MPP.
  3. Provide guidance to FSA staff on how they should:
    1. Assist farmers who wish to apply their premium refunds toward the purchase of a new DMC policy; and
    2. Communicate to dairy producers about the availability of premium refunds through USDA websites, FSAfarm+, and targeted outreach to farmer-focused media and information resources.
  4. Update the MPP Decision Tool for the DMC to reflect the changes to premiums and coverage levels made through the 2018 Farm Bill so that farmers can best determine which level of protection is most appropriate for their operation.

The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter is available here.

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