Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WFP-Tompkins/Cortland) announced that the final state budget will provide a $30 million investment in the dairy industry. Because the initiative is intended to provide immediate financial assistance to dairy producers across New York State, the deadline to apply for assistance is April 27. The funding provides a direct payment to dairy farmers for milk produced during the 2006 calendar year.
There are a number of factors that negatively affected dairy farmers in 2006. During that time New York dairy farmers received extremely low milk prices – well below those of 25 years ago – and also below the cost of production. Adding to the crisis, farmers experienced very high fuel, feed, energy and other operating costs. As a result, many dairy farmers incurred unprecedented losses, forcing some to leave farming. This program was enacted to assist dairy farmers in a time of great need and to prevent further loss in the dairy industry and its many dependent suppliers, which are critical to the Upstate economy.
“Because last year was so devastating for many dairy farmers, we fought hard to get immediate assistance for the farmers who need it most,” Lifton said. “It is important that all of our dairy farmers know that this assistance is available and that the deadline to apply is quickly approaching.”
Applications will be sent to dairy producers through their cooperative or processor. Those producers who do not belong to a cooperative can obtain an application at their county Farm Service Agency office. Producers can also download the applications off the Department’s website at www.agmkt.state.ny.us or request a copy by calling the Department at 1-800-554-4501.
Local Farm Service Agency’s serving Tompkins and Cortland County farmers are:
New York State Farm Service Agency
441 S Salina St
Syracuse, NY 13202
Cortland County Farm Service Agency
100 Grange Pl
Cortland, NY 13045
The Dairy Assistance Program is similar to an initiative used in Vermont. The program will make payments to farmers for up to 4.8 million pounds of milk produced in 2006 at a rate expected to be between $.30 and $.35 per hundredweight – the final rate will be determined once all of the applications have been received. Payments are expected to be mailed by May 9.
“Dairy farming is a critical part of Cortland and Tompkins Counties and we are hoping this year will provide good weather and plentiful returns for all our farmers,” Lifton said. “I encourage all dairy farmers to file their applications so they may receive the assistance from the state they rightly deserve.”