The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reopened enrollment for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy. Signup for the 2018 coverage year will run from now until June 1. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says he was very pleased that Congress was able to “plus up” the program.
“It was not very effective as it was, but we hope this better program will be recognized by the producers to be helpful. Dairies, certainly smaller dairies under 350 cows, (are under) a lot of stress right now. They are probably operating in the red, and that puts a lot of stress emotionally and psychologically on farm families.”
John Newton, market intelligence director for the American Farm Bureau Federation, agrees that changes needed to be made because the program didn’t work during its first two years of existence. He explained some important modifications to the program under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
“Increasing the catastrophic coverage level from 4 to 5 million pounds, and then making the program trigger monthly instead of every two month period. Combined, it makes the program much more affordable and timelier in terms of delivering program payments to dairy farmers.”
Newton says the improved MPP provides dairy farmers with tools they need to successfully run their business.
“It gives dairy farmers an opportunity to go back, pencil out, and see if MPP would work for them for the 2018 coverage year. The secretary did make coverage retroactive for all of 2018, providing important safety net protection for dairy farmers during this time of low milk prices.”
USDA has a web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. That tool can be found here.