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Just few more days for farmers to sign up for USDA’s protection program

Staff writer |
Dairy farmers only have a few more days to go to their county Farm Service Agency office to sign up for USDA’s Margin Protection Program (MPP) for 2016, the National Milk Producers Federation said.

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Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF, reminded farmers Tuesday that they have through Friday, Nov. 20, to obtain or adjust their coverage under the MPP, which provides dairy producers protection from a sharp downturn in milk prices, a steep rise in feed costs, or a combination of the two.

Nearly 25,000 dairy operations – about 55 percent of the total number of farms in the country – obtained coverage through USDA in the calendar year 2015, the first year of the MPP.

Those farms’ combined production history represents approximately 170 billion pounds of milk, or 80 percent of the U.S. milk supply. Of the farms currently enrolled in the MPP for 2015, more than half chose to purchase MPP coverage above the basic, $4 margin level.

Mulhern noted that, like any insurance product, the MPP was not designed to make payouts every year. So far in 2015, the MPP has issued payments in each of the four, two-month coverage periods for those who elected to insure their margins at the maximum $8 margin level, but the payments did not cover program premiums. Producers who purchased coverage at lower levels have not received any payments.

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