USDA To Help Puerto Rican Dairies Devastated By Hurricanes
Dairies throughout Puerto Rico were devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria that directly hit the island. On Thursday, USDA announced they will provide emergency assistance to the 253 licensed dairy farms there.
“We’re dispatching additional USDA staff to the island, but we also continue to ramp up material assistance as well,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “Dairy producers need help immediately, and the Trump Administration is providing it.”
According to Secretary Perdue, the Commodity Credit Corporation is providing up to $12 million to enable dairy operators in Puerto Rico to purchase feed for the estimated 94,000 dairy cows on the island. This special program is only available to producers in Puerto Rico.
“Dairy operations face additional losses unless they have feed for their remaining cattle,” said Perdue. “This funding will enable them to get the help they need until the situation in Puerto Rico stabilizes.”
The program gives producers the opportunity to receive vouchers to purchase an estimated one-month supply of feed. According to the Farm Service Agency, the voucher amount was calculated based on estimated feed costs per cow for 30 days. The vouchers can be exchanged for feed at local dealers.
FSA says this is a one-time initiative, designed to provide quick disaster relief to the dairy industry in Puerto Rico. If there is remaining funds available at the end of the application period (December 1) FSA says they will consider providing additional assistance for feed and fuel purchases to further support dairies in Puerto Rico.
For more information about how to apply, call the USDA Puerto Rico disaster assistance hotline for agricultural producers at 1-787-303-0341, visit your local FSA office, or go to www.fsa.usda.gov.