April 12, 2018
USDA reopens enrollment for improved dairy safety net tool
US dairy producers are encouraged by US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to join the updated Margin Protection Program for Dairy, which will better protect them from changing milk and feed prices, The Advocate reported.
The USDA's Farm Service Agency has set the enrollment period to run through June 1 following approved changes under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
The programme will ensure remunerations for producers when the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost drops below a certain dollar amount elected by the producer.
The changes, include: Calculations of the margin period is monthly rather than bi-monthly; covered production is increased to five million pounds on the Tier 1 premium schedule, and premium rates for Tier 1 are substantially lowered; and an exemption from paying an administrative fee for limited resource, beginning, veteran and disadvantaged producers.
Dairy operators, who joined the previous 2018 enrollment period which qualify for this exemption under the new provisions, may request for a refund.
Dairy operations must make a new coverage election for 2018, even if they enrolled during the previous 2018 sign-up period. Coverage elections made for 2018 will be retroactive to January 1. All dairy operations desiring coverage must sign up during the enrollment period and submit an appropriate form (CCC-782) and dairy operations may still "opt out" by not submitting a form.
"We recognise the financial hardships many of our nation's dairy producers are experiencing right now. Folks are losing their contracts and they are getting anxious about getting their bills paid while they watch their milk check come in lower and lower each month. The Bipartisan Budget Act provided some much-needed incentives for dairy producers to make cost-effective decisions to strengthen their farms, mitigate risk, and conserve their natural resources," Perdue said.
"This includes our support of America's dairy farms. We encourage dairy producers to review the provisions of the updated programme, which Congress shaped with their feedback. Those changes are now in effect, and I'd ask any producers who are interested to contact their local USDA service centers."
- The Advocate