Many dairy producers who enrolled in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program have already received checks for the first part of the year. With word out in the countryside that the “checks are in the mail,” one group has been asking themselves, “Hey, where’s my Dairy Margin Coverage check?” Most people asking that question generally fall into one category — new enrollees.
They would be dairy farms that did not have an established production base under USDA’s predecessor program — the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). Those new enrollees would include farms that simply took a pass on the old MPP-Dairy program and folks who have changed their production history due to an intergenerational transfer.
Unfortunately, that group also includes any beginning farmers who started since the new farm bill. It’s this group who may need the money most of all. “I’m counting on that money to pay my bills,” pleaded one beginning farmer.
While most among us would simply like to make money from the milk check, the farm bill’s signature dairy program is helping makes ends meet during a tumultuous trade war that has led to sluggish dairy exports and marginalized milk checks.
Those DMC checks may arrive soon
To get new enrollees entered into the DMC coverage program, USDA created new computer software for its Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. Word has it that the software was slated to arrive at the end of August. After the Labor Day holiday is over, state FSA offices will need to activate the software and begin entering enrollee information.
The time required to get the system up and running will vary from state to state. Once production history is established, checks can be mailed rather quickly . . . perhaps even by September 6. Another bit of positive news is once the checks arrive for new enrollees, it should contain one lump payment for January to July 2019.
It’s our top priority
In America’s Dairyland, the DMC program will receive top priority.
“You better believe we will be ready to make these payments as soon as the software is available,” stated Sandy Chalmers, state executive director for Wisconsin’s FSA office. “DMC implementation is the number one priority for Wisconsin FSA, and we have been a national leader in enrollment and payments since sign-up began.”
“I have spoken to a number of these producers as well, and I understand the urgency,” Chalmers went on to say in discussing the new enrollees.
There’s still time
Dairy producers interested in 2019 coverage can still sign up through September 20. Go to your local FSA office to sign up.
“For many smaller dairies, the choice is probably a no-brainer, as the retroactive coverage through January has already assured them that the 2019 payments will exceed the required premiums,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. Click here to read “Nearly 17,000 dairy operations enrolled in Dairy Margin Coverage program.”
To learn more about the program, visit the FSA web portal for the Dairy Margin Coverage program.
Also, the University of Missouri’s Scott Brown offers some good advice on the DMC program as well in the Hoard’s Dairyman Intel item “Dairy safety net sign-up enters its final stages.”