Harkins, Merski encourage farmers to apply to Dairy Indemnity Program
ERIE, June 22 – State Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, are urging dairy farmers who have suffered economic losses because of the pandemic to apply to a new, federally funded program that can assist in their recovery.
The Dairy Indemnity Program – funded through the federal CARES Act and administered by the state Department of Agriculture – will distribute $15 million in funding to dairy farmers who have suffered financial losses as a result of discarded or displaced milk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic was like a double whammy for our dairy farmers, who have spent the past decade battling to survive in a shrinking market that has made it hard to keep a profit margin,” Harkins said. “Then, with major customers like restaurants and schools out of the picture because of the pandemic, farms have had to dump away more of their profits. It’s my hope that through this program, these important producers can recoup some of their COVID-19 related losses and continue moving forward.”
“Dairy farms nourish our kids and our economy, creating thousands of jobs and contributing billions of dollars a year to Pennsylvania’s bottom line,” Merski said. “It’s critical to do everything we can to help keep them operating. The new program is accepting applications through Sept. 30, but I’m urging eligible farms to apply as soon as possible – our entire state benefits from their successful operation.”
The lawmakers said all dairy farmers who can show that they have suffered financial losses as a result of discarded or displaced milk during the COVID-19 pandemic should be eligible under the program, which provides a minimum of $1,500 and an additional pro-rated share of the remaining funds.
More information about the program is available here.