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Update: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to extend the sign-up deadline for the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) until Friday, November 20th.

A September 30 deadline looms for those dairy producers who may want to sign up for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) in 2016. While not every dairy farmer will want to sign up for the latest Farm Bill program, they do owe it to themselves to look over MPP-Dairy for the coming year as the dairy product stockpiles are building worldwide and that situation has been placing downward pressure on milk prices as of late. As a reminder, MPP-Dairy protects the margin between milk prices and expenses, or average feed costs.

For those who signed up for MPP-Dairy in 2015, the only question is whether you want additional coverage on 25 to 90 percent of your farm's milk. That is because once a farm signs up for coverage, that operation remains signed up for the duration of the current farm bill that runs through December 31, 2018.

Those who want to sign up for the program will need to go to their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. For first-time sign-ups, you will also need to bring along your farm's 2011, 2012 and 2013 production history. From those levels, the 2014 production history is expanded upward by 2.61 percent.

Once enrolled, all dairy farms are automatically covered at a $4 margin on 80 percent of the production history for a flat $100 fee through 2018. Additional coverage can be purchased in 50-cent increments from a $4.50 margin to $8. The second decision is whether to cover 25 to 90 percent of one's annual production history on 5 percent increments. Even if you signed up for 2015, you will need to visit FSA to re-up for 2016.

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