June 13 2019 03:59 PM

Key Enhancements to the Margin Calculation Days before Farmers Can Sign Up

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

Just days away from the program sign-up, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds the update made to the Dairy Margin Coverage program calculation reflecting a more accurate hay price by including 50% to blend premium and supreme alfalfa hay with the alfalfa hay price previously used in the margin calculation.

“This is great news and is something that has been a FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative policy for quite some time. We are happy to see it being implemented into the DMC program,” says Jeff Lyon, General Manager for FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. “This adjustment to the calculation will more closely align with dairy farmer costs and provide a more accurate margin payment. Dairy farmers are looking to this new margin program to work, and making this significant improvement will ensure that the program is working as it was intended.”

Prior to this calculation adjustment, payments were being predicted from January through July. This new calculation predicts payments all the way to September. Retroactively, the 50 percent hay blend would revise the margin for April 2019 to be $8.82 per hundredweight. The revised margins for January, February and March are, respectively, $7.71, $7.91 and $8.66 – also triggering DMC payments for each month.

“We appreciate the USDA hearing our concerns on this calculation adjustment and hope that dairy farmers will take the opportunity to sign up,” says John Rettler, dairy farmer and President of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. “I highly encourage dairy farmers to explore the DMC decision tool and consider their coverage options and costs. This is a unique opportunity to have a retroactive sign-up while knowing what the payment will be before officially enrolling. And so far, it looks like a no-brainer.”

The DMC decision tool is available www.fsa.usda.gov and allows producers to calculate their historic production, percentage covered and forecast the margin. Dairy farmers are encouraged to use the tool to select coverage decisions prior to visiting their FSA office.

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, established in 2013 and based in Madison, Wis., represents farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana by providing legislative and regulatory advocacy, dairy marketing services, disaster protection, laboratory testing opportunities and industry promotion. FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is a merger of three long-time prominent Wisconsin based cooperatives. Learn more about FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative by visiting: www.FarmFirstDairyCooperative.com.