WASHINGTON -- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini announced Nov. 9 that almost half of all dairy farms in America have made their annual elections for 2016 coverage under the Margin Protection Program, and reminded producers who have not yet enrolled that they have until Nov. 20, to select coverage.
Established by the 2014 Farm Bill, the program provides financial assistance to dairy producers when the margin – the difference between feed costs and the price of milk – falls below the coverage level selected by the applicant.
"This safety net is not automatic, so producers must visit their local FSA office to enroll before Nov. 20," said Dolcini. "Despite the best forecasts, the dairy industry is cyclical and markets can change quickly. This program is like any insurance product, where investing in a policy today will protect against catastrophic economic consequences tomorrow."
FSA estimates that based on current participation rates, had the program existed before the 2014 Farm Bill, producers in 2009 would have invested $73 million in premiums and received $1.44 billion in financial protection during that historically weak market period.
Enrolled dairy operations must pay a $100 administrative fee annually to receive basic catastrophic coverage. Greater levels of margin protection are available for a higher premium, and provide expanded coverage based on historic dairy production. Once enrolled, producers can change their levels of coverage each year. Dairy producers are encouraged to review protection options online at www.fsa.usda.gov/dairy or by visiting their local FSA county office. The nearest FSA county office can be found at http://offices.usda.gov.
The Margin Protection Program for dairy was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.