Minnesota Milk, the state’s leading dairy advocacy group, applauds the introduction of the Dairy Assistance, Investment and Relief Initiative (DAIRI) 2.0 legislation. The proposal creates a public-private partnership by creating a state rebate for the premium incurred when a dairy farmer enrolls in the federal Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.
“We appreciate the leadership Sen. Putnam and Rep. Vang have shown with the introduction of DAIRI 2.0, as well Reps. Wolgamott and Husein as cosponsors,” said Minnesota Milk Executive Director Lucas Sjostrom. “With an enhanced investment targeting Minnesota’s dairy farmers, we look forward to sharing the potential for even greater enrollment and what that means for long-term stability and protection for farmers.”
The first opportunity for public discussion will be at the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Broadband and Rural Development hearing scheduled for March 15. The enhanced version of the 2019 DAIRI program includes several refinements to encourage family dairy farms to utilize existing federal risk management programs and stabilize Minnesota’s dairy economy for long-term viability.
“Minnesota dairy farmers face fluctuation in input costs, such as fertilizer, labor, seed and fuel, which equates to changes in feed costs,” Sjostrom commented. “However, milk price is not tied to feed price, so farmers struggle to cover expenses as the margin between feed costs and milk price shrinks. Existing federal risk management programs require long-term enrollment to see reduced premium rates; we found a way to reinvest in our dairy farmers using an existing tool.”
Because of this investment, Minnesota dairy farms were nearly 15% more likely to enroll in the federal DMC program than nationwide enrollment statistics. This increase in participation meant enhanced indemnity payments when the DMC program was triggered to cover costs when prices were low.
The DAIRI 2.0 proposal creates an enhanced investment by the legislature that would benefit family dairy farms producing a maximum of 5,000,000 pounds of milk or a farm milking approximately 220 cows. Eligibility criteria for farmers electing to participate include a 5-year enrollment in the 2024 Dairy Margin Coverage program, investment of $0.56 per hundred pounds of milk produced by the farm over the next five years and enrollment in the DAIRI 2.0 program.
“We look forward to continuing our efforts with members of the agriculture committees and legislature as we build on a strong foundation of long-term viability and stability for Minnesota dairy farmers,” said Sjostrom.