US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has given the green light for a new Dairy Margin Protection Programme. This voluntary programme, 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 US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has also launched a new web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the Margin Protection Program that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We’ve made tremendous progress in implementing new risk management programs since the Farm Bill was signed over six months ago,” said Vilsack.
“This new programme is another example of this Administration’s commitment to provide effective safety net programs that allow farmers and ranchers to manage economic risks beyond their control. And the supplemental Web tool will empower the nation’s 46,000 dairy producers to make decisions that make sense for them.”
Development of the online resource was led by the University of Illinois, in partnership with the USDA and the Programme on Dairy Markets and Policy (DMaP). DMaP partners include the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Minnesota, Ohio State University and Michigan State University.
The Margin Protection Programme, which replaces the Milk Income Loss Contract Programme, gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation.
Participating farmers must remain in the programme through to 2018 and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee each year. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrolment each year.