Back payments from the US government could see Wisconsin dairy farmers gain as much as US$173m under a new price support programme.

Because the programme passed in the controversial 2002 Farm Bill is retroactive to December last year, milk producers could get a second check. According to an Associated Press article, this could see dairy farmers in Wisconsin gain up to US$173m.

The subsidies are aimed at small to medium-sized family dairy farms like many in Wisconsin, said Jim Harsdorf, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. They are limited to the production equivalent of around 135 cows. Harsdorf said that approximately 85% of Wisconsin milk producers were expected to be eligible for payments.

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