ST. PAUL The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is rolling out its new Dairy Assistance, Investment and Relief Initiative program to provide financial assistance for dairy producers who enroll for five years of coverage in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency’s Dairy Margin Coverage program.

“Minnesota farmers are the cornerstone of our state’s economy,” said Governor Tim Walz. “We know that this has been a tough year for agriculture, and our dairy farmers need our support. I’m proud that our budget secured $8 million for the Dairy Assistance, Investment and Relief Initiative to make sure our farmers can continue doing the work they love and providing for our state.”

Applications to the program are being accepted now through Oct. 1. In order to qualify, farmers must have produced less than 160,000 hundredweight of milk in 2018 and have signed up for five years of coverage through the DMC program during its current enrollment period between June 17 and Sept. 20.

The MDA will issue payments on a rolling basis. Producers can expect to receive their first payments roughly two to four weeks after successfully applying. They will be paid based on production levels, up to 50,000 cwt of milk produced in 2018.

An application form, a W9, a copy of their DMC enrollment form, and a statement from their processor(s) detailing the amount of milk produced in 2018 are required to complete an application.

Producers may receive a second payment this fall after the application period has ended — depending on remaining available funds.

Additional information and the application forms are available at https://www.mda.state.mn.us/dairi.

This article was submitted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.