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Help available for dairy farmers

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has established a new reimbursement program to assist dairy producers in the state that participate in the federal Dairy Margin Coverage Program.

The new Dairy Producers Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program reimburses Virginia dairies for the premium payment they have made for the federal program at the tier 1 level.

“Virginia’s dairy industry produces safe, wholesome products that are enjoyed both locally and around the world. But dairy farms have recently faced a whole host of challenges,” said VDACS Commissioner Brad Copenhaver. “I encourage all dairies in Virginia to participate in the federal Dairy Margin Coverage program, work with your local soil and water conservation district to implement a qualifying conservation practice and apply to take advantage of this reimbursement funding.”

Applications for the new Dairy Producers Margin Coverage Premium Assistant Program will be available this fall. Eligible dairy producers will receive notification of the application’s availability directly and should submit program applications to VDACS by February 1, 2022.

To become eligible for the new Dairy Producers Margin Coverage Premium Assistant Program, dairies in the state must meet the following criteria:

• Have a resource management plan or nutrient management plan that is certified or undergoing certification by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation or a local soil and water conservation district.

• Participate in the federal Dairy Margin Coverage Program at the tier I level, as contained in the federal Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

The Dairy Producer Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program is a result of Delegate Wendy Gooditis’s House Bill No. 1750 and Senator Mark Obenshain’s Senate Bill No. 1193, which were unanimously approved during the 2021 General Assembly first special session and signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam. Program funding for the current fiscal year is set at $1 million. Reimbursement to eligible dairies will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis and is limited to the availability of funds.