Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Tuesday that $40 million in CARES Act funding is planned to be distributed to Pennsylvania dairy farmers and state programs.
Half of the federal funding is planned to be distributed directly to farmers, with $15 million going to direct relief payments and $5 million to reimburse dairy farmers who participate in the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System– a state program where farmers donate excess dairy products to the commonwealth’s charitable food system.
The funding is available to any farm that experienced financial losses after having to discard milk due to a drop in demand following statewide closures of restaurants and schools.
Farms can receive a minimum of $1,500 plus an additional prorated share of the remaining funds.
“Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry represents the very best of who we are – something that’s been seen since the very beginning of our COVID-19 mitigation efforts,” Gov. Wolf said. “That’s why it’s critical that we open these programs to support Pennsylvania’s farmers today. This CARES funding is going to an industry that gives back every day to ensure that Pennsylvanians have access to fresh food.”
The remaining CARES Act funding will be distributed to two state programs.
The State Food Purchase Program, which provides cash grants to counties for the purchase and distribution of food to low income individuals, is expected to receive $15 million of the funding.
The last $5 million is set to be given to the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System to help the program reimburse the agricultural industry for the costs of harvesting, processing, packaging and transporting food that was donated to the charitable food system.=