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.

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds the announcement made today by USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey, extending the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) sign-up period by an extra week, to September 27.

During his announcement today, Under Secretary Northey also noted that the number of dairy farmers enrolled in DMC is about 21,000, with about $230 million being paid out so far for 2019. The sign-up numbers for DMC 2019 so far are about 80 farmers short of the sign-up level for the old Margin Protection Program in 2018.

“We appreciate USDA’s decision to extend the sign-up period for the DMC, and we are hopeful that more producers will sign up before the enrollment period ends. FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative believes that this program will perform much better than its predecessor and encourages all dairy farmers to sign up,” says John Rettler, president of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative and dairy farmer from Neosho, Wis.

“We can’t emphasize it enough, this is a program all dairy farmers should sign up for,” says Rettler. “There are still improvements to be made over time to DMC, and much of the valuable feedback we receive is through producers who have experienced the program. Farmer participation allows for greater improvements later on.”

Created in the 2018 Farm Bill, the DMC is a much more robust safety net program for dairy farmers than its predecessor program with several key updates made to it. These include affordable higher coverage levels, a more accurate feed-cost formula that now includes dairy quality hay values which more accurately reflects the true cost of feeding cows, and a new option for dairy farmers to receive a 25 percent discount on their premiums if they lock in their coverage for a five-year period.

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: