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USDA extends dairy margin protection, producers happy

Staff writer |
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the deadline to enroll for the dairy Margin Protection Program for coverage in 2016 has been extended until November 20, 2015.

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The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.

"The fall harvest is a busy time of the year for agriculture, so this extension will ensure that dairy producers have more time to make their choices," said Vilsack.

"We encourage all operations to examine the protections offered by this program, because despite the very best forecasts, markets can change."

Vilsack encouraged producers to use the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Agency Service (FSA) online Web resource at to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation. The secure website can be accessed via computer, smartphone or tablet.

He also reminds producers that were enrolled in 2015 that they need to make a coverage election for 2016 and pay the $100 administration fee.

Although any unpaid premium balances for 2015 must be paid in full by the enrollment deadline to remain eligible for higher coverage levels in 2016, premiums for 2016 are not due until Sept. 1, 2016. Also, producers can work with milk marketing companies to remit premiums on their behalf.

“We appreciate the decision today by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to extend the sign-up deadline for the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) until Friday, November 20th.

"In his announcement, Secretary Vilsack acknowledged that fall is a busy time for dairy producers, and that the additional seven weeks for sign-up will help the decision-making process on using the MPP in 2016," The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said. ■

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