Luján Commends Compensation Secured from USDA to New Mexico Farmers for Contaminated Dairy Cattle
Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement that dairy producers in New Mexico can now apply to receive a payment for loss of dairy cows that are no longer marketable due to contamination by perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) originating from Cannon Air Force Base.
Despite the cattle being permanently contaminated, no federal program has allowed these farmers to receive the compensation they deserve until now. After urging from the New Mexico delegation, the USDA updated the Dairy Indemnity Payment Program (DIPP) rule by authorizing indemnification of contaminated cows to address long-term milk contaminations in December 2021. A priority for Luján, DIPP now allows the USDA to reimburse farmers for the depopulation of contaminated cattle herds so they can begin the process of rebuilding their dairy operations. This will help the state’s dairy industry to get back on its feet following the pandemic and other economic challenges.
“New Mexico farmers and ranchers are critical contributors to our economy. That’s why I’m proud to announce this compensation for New Mexicans – a priority of mine since my tenure in the House of Representatives and now as a member of the Agriculture Committee in the Senate. For too long, impacted producers were brought to the verge of bankruptcy due to inaction and because programs that were designed to provide a strong safety net were clearly not working,” said Luján. “Since my start in the Senate, I have been working to find a long-term solution to address this serious failing. Beyond the moral imperative of the federal government providing just compensation, this announcement is part of a broader effort to support the dairy industry and rural communities. I was honored to play a leading role in securing this important rule update from USDA.”
To learn more or to participate in DIPP, New Mexico producers should contact their local USDA Service Center.