Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement of a $350 million Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program passed by Congress last December to support dairy farmers impacted by COVID-19 and improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage program.

“I am proud to announce USDA’s two updates that will prioritize North Country dairy farmers,” Stefanik said. “Our dairy farmers have worked hard, despite the unforeseen market changes due to the coronavirus pandemic, and their needs deserve to be met. Additionally, I am proud USDA will now better reflect feed prices, which will benefit individual farmers. I will always make the needs of our North Country dairy farmers a top priority of mine and look forward to ensuring these programs works as intended to benefit our farmers.”

The Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program will provide $350 million in payments to reimburse farmers who received a lower value for their products due to market abnormalities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. More information from USDA on the program can be found here.

Additionally, USDA will make improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage program to update the feed cost formula to better reflect the actual cost dairy farmers pay for high quality feed. This change will be a permanent part of the dairy safety net and will be retroactive to January 2020. It is expected to provide additional retroactive payments of about $100 million for 2020 and 2021, and provide an added $80 million per year in support to dairy farmers.

Stefanik has been a long-time advocate for improving feed cost calculations to accurately reflect individual farmers’ actual feed costs.