Aug. 27 2021 11:51 AM

Statement from President John Rettler

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 approves of USDA’s recent announcement regarding improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage Program in addition to the news of the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program.

The following is a statement by FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative President, John Rettler, dairy farmer, Neosho, WI:

“FarmFirst applauds the recent announcement by the USDA to improve the Dairy Margin Coverage program by updating the feed cost formula to better reflect the actual cost dairy farmers pay for high quality alfalfa. This change will be retroactive to January 2020 and is expected to provide additional payments of about $100 million for 2020 and 2021.

Making improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage program has been a priority for FarmFirst and we are glad to see the change become a permanent part of the safety net program. Finessing and perfecting the smaller details of the dairy margin coverage formula allows it to reflect actual costs make a world of a difference for dairy farmers; in that it becomes a much more accurate compensation of losses experienced.

FarmFirst has also been a long-time advocate for the Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage program, which will reflect modest increases in farm milk production history. These small improvements to the program allow it to more accurately reflect farmers’ true margin losses and in turn, allow the program to perform as it was intended to – to support dairy farmers when their cash flow is tight.

FarmFirst also approves of the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program. While the program will have minimal impact on cooperative members and dairy farms across the Upper Midwest due to our lower Class I utilization than in other parts of the U.S., dairy farmers will still benefit from this program. Improvements to Federal Milk Marketing Orders remains a priority for FarmFirst, and we will continue advocate for changes to improve the orders for all U.S. dairy farmers.”

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. Learn more about FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative by visiting: