USDA Announces Additional $5 Million for Organic Dairy Producers

Published 10:19 am Thursday, September 21, 2023

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is unveiling a second round of financial support, allocating an additional $5 million through the Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program (ODMAP). This initiative aims to aid dairy producers in grappling with market volatility, soaring input and transportation costs, and unstable feed supply and prices, which have uniquely impacted the organic dairy industry.

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has already disbursed $15 million in the initial round of payments to eligible producers, bringing the total ODMAP payments to $20 million.

“This program is critical to keeping small, organic dairies sustainable as they continue to weather a combination of challenges outside their control,” stated FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “The Farm Service Agency is providing $20 million to give organic dairy producers additional economic support to stay in operation until markets return to more favorable conditions.”

The FSA accepted ODMAP applications from May 24 to August 11. Eligible producers for ODMAP included certified organic dairy operations that produce milk from cows, goats, and sheep.

ODMAP offers financial assistance for a producer’s projected marketing costs in 2023. The calculation is based on a cost share of marketing costs per pound of organic milk marketed for the 2022 calendar year (or a projection of 2023 pounds of organic milk sold if warranted in certain situations), capped at 5 million pounds. The first payment for ODMAP applicants was factored in by 75%. Responding to the ongoing need, USDA has determined that additional assistance is necessary. Hence, the second round of payments will provide each eligible applicant with 25% of the requested service.

The second ODMAP payment is automatic, requiring no additional action from participating producers.

ODMAP complements other assistance available to dairy producers, including Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) and Supplemental DMC, with benefits exceeding $1 billion paid for the 2023 program year to date.

Furthermore, the FSA recently introduced the Milk Loss Program for eligible dairy operations, covering milk discarded or removed from the commercial milk market without compensation due to qualifying weather events and their resultant disruptions to the delivery or storage of milk during calendar years 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Producers seeking more information about FSA programs can contact their local USDA Service Center. They can also manage farm-related tasks and view farm records data and customer information by logging into their account or signing up for one.

The USDA, under the Biden-Harris Administration, continues to make strides in transforming America’s food system, with a focus on resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, and building new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices. The department is also making historic investments in rural America’s infrastructure and clean energy capabilities while emphasizing equity and representation across the Department.