NMPF News Alerts – June 8, 2020

Looking back:

USDA said last week that it has made more than $125 million in direct payments to dairy farmers as part of the initial wave of $16 billion in farm assistance allocated for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The agency issued payments across all commodities last week totaling $545 million.

NMPF continues to bolster its resources addressing the CFAP, including the latest installment of its Coronavirus Dairy Toolbox summary, available here. The June News for Dairy Co-ops issue is available online as well.

The Senate passed and President Trump signed new legislation making fixes to the Paycheck Protection Program. The measure is intended to make it easier for borrowers to get more of their PPP loans forgiven.

NMPF endorsed a new, bipartisan Senate bill to facilitate the trading in carbon credits by helping set the terms for agricultural markets that would pay farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Growing Climate Solutions Act creates a certification program at USDA to help solve technical barriers making it difficult for farmers to participate in carbon credit markets.

Looking ahead:

The USDA will hold a producer education webinar specifically for dairy farmers on the CFAP program Thursday, June 11, at 3 PM ET. Farmers can interact with CFAP National Program Specialists to discuss what dairy producers should know about the CFAP. Registration will be available this week at this page.

Dairy Defined: Higher prices, effective policies helping dairy rebound and advance, Agri-Mark’s Jacquier says

NMPF – June 8
Higher milk prices and effective federal policies – both encouraged by dairy’s unity in responding to the coronavirus crisis – are dramatically turning around dairy-farmer fortunes and presenting opportunities to build on positive lessons learned, according to James “Cricket” Jacquier, a member of the NMPF’s executive committee and chairman of the board for Agri-Mark. To listen to the full discussion, click here.

Farmers get billions in virus aid, and Democrats are wary

The New York Times – June 7
The Trump administration’s $28 billion effort in 2018 and 2019 to compensate farmers for losses from its trade wars has been criticized as excessive, devised on the fly and tilted toward states politically important to Republicans. Now the administration is starting to send farmers tens of billions more to offset losses from the coronavirus pandemic, raising questions about how the money will be allocated and whether there is sufficient oversight to guard against partisan abuse of the program.

Trump signs bill changing Paycheck Protection Program into law

MarketWatch – June 6
President Trump signed into law a bill easing conditions for small businesses tapping the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, with his OK coming after the measure scored broad support from lawmakers. The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act makes changes to the PPP that include extending the period for using loans to 24 weeks from eight weeks. It also would let borrowers spend just 60%, rather than 75%, of their loan proceeds on paying workers and still be eligible for loan forgiveness.

Despite COVID setbacks, April dairy exports surprisingly positive

Dairy Herd Management – June 5
During the month of April dairy exports were surprisingly positive for the eighth straight month. This was driven largely by record exports of dry ingredients to Southeast Asia in addition to rebounding volumes of whey products to China. In April 2020, dairy exports were $150 million dollars more in terms of value sold than last year at this time. That’s roughly 50,000 metric tons more product sold this year than last year.

‘There’s only so much we can do’: Food banks plead for help

Politico – June 8
Food banks and other anti-hunger advocates have been pleading with Congress to increase food stamp benefits to make it easier for households to buy groceries, arguing it’s a much more efficient way to get food to the hungry while cutting down on the stress and stigma of waiting in food lines. But the program has become so partisan the idea of expanding it has been almost a nonstarter, even as Washington has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on other forms of aid like unemployment insurance and stimulus checks.

Maryland dairy farmers see outlook go from ‘really good’ to ‘really bad’ in COVID-19 pandemic

The Baltimore Sun – June 8
Maryland dairy farmers had hoped 2020 would be a turnaround year, but instead there has been a steep decrease in milk prices as a result of the pandemic. But lately there has been some movement in a positive direction for dairy farmers. The USDA has been buying dairy products for those who need it. “That’s actually driving milk prices up right now… but we won’t see that improvement in prices until mid to late July because we’re always 15 to 30 days behind on getting paid for our milk,” dairy farmer Matt Hoff said.

Dairy industry heavily impacted by COVID-19

KAMR/KCIT (Amarillo, TX) – June 6
The dairy industry has been thoroughly affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though grocery stores may have seen an uptick in consumer purchasing, there were still multiple sectors in which the dairy industry was not able to supplement. “The silver lining in this cloud has been the great consumer demand that we’ve seen. You actually could see, at home per capita consumption of milk go up significantly and that would be reversing about a four-decade trend,” said NMPF’s Alan Bjerga.