Washington, D.C. — Following recent reports that at least two Maine dairy farmers’ land, livestock, and overall operations have been significantly harmed by PFAS contamination, U.S. Senator Susan Collins wrote to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requesting assistance for Maine farmers impacted by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination. While retail milk from Maine remains a safe and healthy product, the letter requests assistance in identifying funding, support services, and any other resources at USDA that could address the very challenging situation facing two dairy producers in Maine.
“PFAS contamination has harmed at least two dairy producers in Maine, resulting in the dumping of milk and a direct effect on the health of dairy cattle,” wrote Senator Collins. “While I understand that USDA has provided some initial support to my constituents through the Dairy Indemnity Payment Program, I am concerned that this program was not set up to address the impact of long-term contamination. Additionally, because of the relatively new threat of PFAS contamination, other existing programs intended for disaster relief may not currently be applicable.”
“If the current programs are insufficient, I am committed to working with you and the Department to identify other possible funding mechanisms that could be updated or initiated to help address PFAS contamination,” continued Senator Collins.
In 2016, a farm in southern Maine was found to have elevated levels of PFAS. A second dairy farm in Central Maine recently tested its milk and found high contamination levels in June and July, that ranged from 12,700 to 32,200 parts per trillion. While this is a small operation of 40 to 50 milking cows and the farm is no longer producing milk for consumption or contributing to the milk supply, this figure is 153 times above the 210 parts per trillion threshold at which milk can no longer be sold commercially in Maine.
The Dairy Indemnity Payment Program provides payments to dairy producers when a public regulatory agency directs them to remove their raw milk from the commercial market because it has been contaminated by pesticides and other residues.
Click HERE to read the full letter.