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Courtney Announces Opening of USDA Dairy Donation Program

August 27, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) shared the announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has officially opened the Dairy Donation Program (DDP) to support American dairy farmers impacted by the pandemic. The program was established with $400 million through H.R. 133, which Courtney voted to pass in December 2020. Under the DDP, eligible dairy farms are able to partner with non-profit organization that distribute food to individuals and families in need. Those partnerships may apply for and receive reimbursements to cover some expenses related to eligible dairy product donations.

USDA has announced that dairy and non-profit partnerships are now able to submit forms to be approved for program eligibility. USDA will provide the reimbursement claim form at a later date. Click here to read more.

“We’ve still got long lines at our food banks, and eastern Connecticut dairy farmers will tell you they’re still working to get back up to full speed—the Dairy Donation Program will help tackle both of those issues,” said Rep. Courtney. “We voted to authorize substantial new assistance for American farmers back in December when we passed H.R. 133, and the Dairy Donation Program is part of that aid package. It’s going give direct financial support to America’s hardest hit dairy farmers, and connect struggling people with healthy food at the same time. That’s a big win for our region, and my office is ready to help any of our local dairy farm and non-profit food partnerships who are interested in applying for the program.”

Rep. Courtney is the Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Dairy Caucus, and has worked throughout the pandemic to assist eastern Connecticut dairy farmers, crop growers, fishermen, shellfish and aquaculture farmers, and others. He successfully pressed the USDA to expand CFAP direct food purchasing to help more Connecticut farmers and to open CFAP to shellfish and hemp farmers. In November 2020, the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association presented Courtney with the CFBA 2020 Legislative Award, which recognizes those who have given an outstanding commitment to Connecticut farmers and the state’s agricultural economy.

On Tuesday, Courtney and Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT-05) welcomed another new form of federal assistance for Connecticut’s dairy farmers: the new Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program (PMVAP). This new program will provide direct relief to dairy farmers who received a lower value for their products due to market abnormalities caused by the pandemic, and is part of a larger package that includes permanent improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage safety net program. The PMVAP was also authorized by H.R. 133.