As dairy farmers in Maryland and across the nation continue to struggle due to low milk prices, Governor Larry Hogan has pledged to contribute approximately $1.5 million in state funds to enable Maryland dairy farmers to participate in a new federal funding program, creating up to $17 million in available assistance and saving jobs and family farms.
Governor Hogan made the announcement on Thursday evening while addressing the annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture dinner in Glen Burnie, Md.
From the governor’s remarks:
“For months we have been searching for a way to help our dairy farmers who are facing particularly challenging times. I want all of you to be the first to know tonight that earlier today I made the decision to put additional state resources that will be combined with federal funds and will mean up to $17 million in emergency funding to assist and support our Maryland dairy farmers.”–Governor Larry Hogan
Governor Hogan has been proactive in supporting dairy farmers both at the state level and leveraging support from the federal government. The governor signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in April 2018 asking to provide disaster relief to dairy farmers. Additionally, Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder signed on to a regional letter from Northeastern state secretaries of agriculture requesting USDA quickly implement dairy risk management programs approved in the current Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill was signed on December 2018 and amended the Margin Protection Program (MPP) by renaming as Dairy Margin Coverage Program. The program is administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency.
Following yesterday’s announcement, the governor will authorize the state to pay up to $1.5 million to cover the farmers’ share of the premium cost to participate in the Dairy Margin Coverage Program to leverage a significant amount – projected at up to $17 million – of federal funds for Maryland farmers.