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New program helps farmers with dairy losses

Leaders of the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) say they're pleased that Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has announced a new Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment (DELAP) program.

It gives eligible producers a one-time direct payment based on the amount of milk produced and commercially marketed by their operation during the months of February through July, 2009.

"The dairy industry has been dealing with high input costs and low dairy prices and MFU has been calling for action for a long time and it is nice to see our efforts are starting to pay off," said Doug Peterson, MFU President. "This is not to say that the Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment program will solve all the problems facing dairy farmers, but it is a start. Farmers Union will continue to fight for the promotion, stabilization and strengthening of the dairy industry."

MFU has been putting the struggles of the dairy industry in the spotlight to try and gain assistance for dairy farmers. MFU held "No Bull" dairy action sessions, bringing attention to the farmgate prices of the dairy farmer; flew dairy farmers out to Washington, D.C. so they could speak directly to their Representative and Senators about their dire situations; participated in dairy meetings with our congressional delegation; and had the MFU Carver County President testify in front of Congress about dairy prices.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), on average, the price U.S. dairy producers received for milk marketed in the summer of 2009 was about half of what it cost the farmers to produce the milk.

For more information and eligibility requirements on the new DELAP program, go to

Minnesota Farmers Union ( is a nonprofit membership-based organization working to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers, as well as rural communities.