Final Phase III payments under the Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment (DELAP) program began the week of Oct. 12, according to the USDA. The program is funded by $290 million from the 2010 Agricultural Appropriations Bill to provide loss assistance payments to eligible dairy producers.

"We know that dairy producers have been experiencing difficult economic circumstances, but with this assistance, producers have been able to offset a portion of their financial losses," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

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Payments to eligible DELAP program producers were issued in three payment phases. Phase I payments were issued in mid-December 2009 to dairy producers with production records from previous participation in dairy programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

Dairy producers who did not have production records at the FSA county office but submitted a request for DELAP benefits before the application deadline of Jan. 19 were issued payments in Phase II beginning June 18.

DELAP Phase III will be disbursed to eligible dairy producers that received DELAP benefits under Phase I or Phase II.

Of the $290 million budgeted for DELAP, a total of $273 million was dispersed to eligible dairy producers under DELAP Phase I and Phase II. The remaining $17 million -- minus a reserve established by FSA -- will be dispersed during Phase III.

For more information regarding payments under the DELAP program, visit the local FSA county office or http://www.fsa.usda.gov.