Updated 7 a.m. June 13
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue extended the deadline for producers to sign up for the Farm Service Agency’s Margin Protection Program – Dairy (MPP) — a safety net for dairy producers — from June 8 to June 22, 2018.
The new and improved program protects participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below levels of protection selected by the applicant. USDA has already issued more than $89 million for margins triggered in February, March, and April, and USDA offices are continuing to process remaining payments daily.
“Last week we re-opened enrollment to offer producers preoccupied with field work an additional opportunity to come into their local office to sign-up. We did get more than 500 new operations enrolled but want to continue to provide an opportunity for folks to participate before the next margin is announced,” Perdue said. “More than 21,000 American dairies have gone into our 2,200 FSA offices to sign-up for 2018 MPP coverage but I am certain we can do better with this extra week and a half.”
The re-enrollment deadline was previously extended through June 8, 2018. The deadline is being extended a second time to ensure that dairy producers are given every opportunity to make a calculated decision and enroll in the program if they choose. This will be the last opportunity for producers to take advantage of key adjustments Congress made to provisions of the MPP program under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to strengthen its support of dairy producers. USDA encourages producers contemplating enrollment to use the online web resource at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation.
The next margin under MPP, for May 2018, will be published on June 28, 2018. Therefore, all coverage elections on form CCC-782 and the $100 administrative fee, unless exempt, must be submitted to the County FSA Office no later than June 22, 2018. No registers will be utilized, so producers are encouraged to have their enrollment for 2018 completed by COB June 22, 2018.
Dairy operations must make new coverage elections for 2018, even if the operation was enrolled during the previous 2018 signup period. Coverage elections made for this year will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018.
Covered production is increased to 5 million pounds on the Tier 1 premium schedule, and premium rates for Tier 1 are substantially lowered.
The program offers dairy producers: (1) catastrophic coverage, at no cost to the producer, other than an annual $100 administrative fee (which is waived in some cases); and (2) various levels of buy-up coverage.
“We have an awful lot of producers, about 90 percent, that signed up at the higher level of coverage, at the $8 margin levels. Because producers are able to look back and see what the margins were, especially February, March and April, in many cases that was a good situation for producers and therefore they have high coverage, not only for those months but coverage for the balance of this year as well,” says Under Secretary Bill Northey, who adds one payment will be administered for the three months.
Of the 20,000 sign-ups, 56% of annual milk production is covered at various levels and 122 million pounds of milk, adds Northey.
“These checks can be very helpful but we don’t want to pretend that this makes producers whole — this doesn’t make up for the losses — they still have tough decisions but it sure is a help and we appreciate congress offering producers some help in this very challenging time.
For more information go to USDA MPP.