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Updates to dairy protection programs now available

By Justin Walker

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced recently that dairy farmers previously enrolled in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program (LGM-Dairy) can now retroactively elect to participate in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy), a safety net program available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).

The new changes in the 2018 Farm Bill allow for dairy farmers to be enrolled in both LGM-Dairy and MPP-Dairy programs at the same time, something the previous version of the farm bill did not permit. Enrollment in the MPP-Dairy will grant access to 2018 coverage.

“The 2018 Farm Bill included substantial changes to USDA dairy programs,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “This includes the ability for producers with LGM coverage to retroactively enroll in MPP-Dairy for 2018. It also integrated recent improvements to the MPP-Dairy in the new Dairy Margin Coverage program, beginning with the 2019 calendar year.”

Farmers will have a limited window to sign up for coverage. Enrollment began on March 25 and will close on May 10. Only dairy farmers currently in the 2018 LGM-Dairy program who produced and commercially marketed milk in 2018 are eligible for the retroactive enrollment.

Eligible farmers are encouraged to meet with their local USDA service center to help sign up, Fordyce said.

The LGM-Dairy program, administered by USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), serves as insurance to protect farmers from rising feed costs or falling milk prices. The MPP-Dairy program is designed to protect farmers when the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost falls below a certain dollar amount chosen by the farmer.

“I’m pleased that dairy producers will now be able to take advantage of enrolling in both Livestock Gross Margin and the Margin Protection Program for 2018 coverage,” RMA Administrator Martin Barbre said. “The 2018 Farm Bill gave dairy producers more options like these and when combined with the new Dairy Protection Program offered by RMA that means more overall coverage for dairy producers.”

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