As farmers across the U.S. finalize 2016 Margin Protection Program (MPP) coverage level decisions, "refreshed" MPP participation data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request provides a never-before-seen perspective on county-level MPP enrollment during 2015, and is the risk-management equivalent of "keeping up with the Joneses." This new data provides an opportunity for farmers across the U.S. to benchmark their individual MPP participation decisions with those made by other like-minded dairy farmers in their area or across the country.

Participation data is presented through a variety of maps. Each map is accessible by clicking on the tiles at the top of the tableau visualization. Each visualization is 100 percent interactive, in that users can zoom in to a particular region, hover over a county to display county-level statistics, or hover over a bar chart to display statistics for the applicable coverage level. There are five layers of county-level MPP participation data available to view:
  • Participation under each MPP coverage level threshold that can be filtered by clicking on a coverage level in the bar chart
  • Percent of licensed dairy operations enrolled in MPP
  • Average production history of enrolled dairy operations
  • Volume of milk covered under MPP
  • Weighted average coverage level threshold (from $4 to $8 per hundredweight)
USDA reports that had MPP been authorized during the 2008 Farm Bill, and given 2015 participation levels, program benefits would have totaled $2.5 billion dollars and the program would have paid out in three of the previous six years. Thus, even as current futures prices point toward a low probability of MPP payments in 2016, it is important to consider that markets can be, and almost always are, wrong. While MPP is not guaranteed to have a payout every year, nor is it designed to enhance dairy farm revenue, it does offer a cost-effective opportunity to protect against unforeseen market risks. Explore MPP enrollment in 2015 and make sure you are "ahead of the (MPP) Joneses," and protected for 2016.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2015
November 16, 2015
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