USDA Announces Open Enrollment for New Dairy Farm Risk Management Program

BELLEFONTE – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that beginning this week farmers can enroll in the new dairy Margin Protection Program.

The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.

“The dairy Margin Protection Program created under the 2014 Farm Bill is now open for enrollment,” stated U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5), a member of the House Agriculture Committee.

“This new program is an investment in cost-effective risk management that will provide our dairy producers with greater certainty and stronger tools to manage economic risks beyond their control.  I strongly encourage farmers to begin evaluating coverage options and program requirements well in advance of the enrollment deadline, which is Nov. 28.”

Participating farmers must remain in the program through 2018 and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee each year. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year.

USDA has also launched a new Web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the Margin Protection Program that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions.

The online resource, available atwww.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections.

Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

Development of the online resource was led by the University of Illinois, in partnership with the USDA and the Program on Dairy Markets and Policy (DMaP).

DMaP partners include the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Minnesota, Ohio State University and Michigan State University.

Dairy operations enrolling in the new program must comply with conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin dairy insurance program.

Farmers already participating in the Livestock Gross Margin program may register for the Margin Protection Program, but the new margin program will only begin once their Livestock Gross Margin coverage has ended.

The Margin Protection Program final rule was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 29. The Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers the program, will open a 60-day public comment period on the dairy program.

FSA wants to hear from dairy operators to determine whether the current regulation accurately addresses management changes, such as adding new family members to the dairy operation or inter-generational transfers. Written comments must be submitted by Oct. 28, at www.fsa.usda.gov or www.regulations.gov.

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