WEST CHESTER (June 23, 2020) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that $40 million in funding is now available to support Pennsylvania’s dairy industry and food security programs.

“The pandemic and months of uncertainty have taken a toll on all sectors of our economy, including agriculture and the dairy industry,” Dinniman, who serves on the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, said. “These important programs will support our farms and farmers who continue to work hard day in and day out to ensure our residents and families have fresh food.”

The funding, which comes through the federal CARES Act, is divided into two categories:

  • $20 Million to Support for Dairy Farming – $15 million will provide an opportunity for dairy farmers to receive direct relief payments and $5 million will reimburse dairy farmers who participate in the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) program by donating excess dairy product to the commonwealth’s charitable food system. Any dairy farm that experienced financial losses due to discarded or displaced milk during the COVID-19 emergency disaster may apply for assistance. Each farm with a documented loss will receive a minimum of $1,500 and an additional prorated share of the remaining funds, not to exceed the actual amount assessed by the handler. The deadline to apply for the Dairy Indemnity Program is September 30, 2020.

 

  • $20 Million to Support Farms through the State Food Purchase Program – $15 million will go to the State Food Purchase Program, which provides cash grants to counties for the purchase and distribution of food to low-income individuals, and $5 million will go to the PASS program to reimburse the agricultural industry for the costs involved in harvesting, processing, packaging and transporting food that they donate to the charitable food system. The PASS program helps to support Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry in all 67 counties and reduce waste of agricultural surplus by making connections between production agriculture and the non-profit sector.

“I grew up on a dairy farm. I understand how challenging the work was even before COVID-19 hit. Despite significant impacts and drastic market changes our farmers continue to work hard. I encourage all Chester County farmers to take advantage of this program,” Dinniman said.