New York State Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer are calling for more direct relief for New York’s hard hit dairy farmers.
Dairy is the largest sector of New York’s agriculture industry, and the fourth largest producer of milk in the U.S.. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, dairy farmers suffered under volatile prices, and an unstable market. The pandemic added to this burden, disrupting supply chains and adding costs.
Dairy Farmers were initially receiving federal pandemic relief through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP, which began in April of 2020. However, these payments stopped in January 2021. CFAP went under a 60 day regulatory review, and when it restarted no further payments to dairy farmers were announced.
There are existing federal programs to assist the dairy industry, such as Pandemic Assistance for Producers, which runs a Dairy Donation Program. , but Gillibrand and Schumer, say this is not enough.
They wrote a letter to the USDA, asking that CFAP assistance be reinstated for Dairy farmers, and for past CFAP payments to be made retroactively up to January 1st.