ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The federal government will reimburse Northeastern dairy farmers for the milk they had to dump because Tropical Storm Irene prevented them from getting it to market.
Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrats, said the funds will replace milk dumped or spoiled by power loss or impassible roads along the Eastern Seaboard. Farmers will be paid full market value, more than $4 a gallon.
The amount of the milk and the funding haven't been determined.
Some dairy farmers were unable to get milk to market for days, Schumer said.
"Dairy farmers were some of the hardest hit by Irene, and the federal government needs to do everything it can to help our farmers recover and get back on track," he said.
Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said the storm cost many farmers their businesses.
"When our family farms suffer, our whole state and whole economy suffer," Gillibrand said. "This is vital support that our dairy farms need to help get back on their feet and begin to recover."
The New York Democrats say the U.S. Department of Agriculture will send checks to farmers if the product didn't get to market.
The immediate administrative action by the Department of Agriculture will give dairy farmers some relief as they face mounting bills for other flood damage to fields, farms and houses and the loss of cows that drowned or were carried away.
Irene destroyed wide swaths of farmland in eastern New York.