USDA extended the deadline on its signature dairy safety net program — Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC). The new deadline is this Friday, September 27. Until the extension, the deadline had been September 20.
“With smaller margins and increased feed costs, DMC has resulted in almost $230 million in payments disbursed,” said Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation.
“I know that some farmers may still be cautious given their experiences with former dairy support programs, but producers who have not signed up yet should come into a local office to learn how much money the program can put into their pockets,” he continued.
Half have signed up
“More than 21,200 dairy operations have already signed up for DMC, but we’re providing an additional week to help ensure interested producers have time to come into the office,” said Northey of the one-week extension.
Almost half of the producers who have signed up so far are taking advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in for five years of margin protection coverage. FSA has launched a new web visualization of the DMC data, which is available here.
Margin payments have been triggered for each month from January through July. Dairy producers who elect higher coverage levels could be eligible for payments for all seven months. Under certain levels, the amount paid to dairy farmers will exceed the cost of the premium.
For example, a dairy operation that chooses to enroll for 2019 with an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) and elects the $9.50 coverage level on 95 percent of production will pay $4,275 in total premium payments for all of 2019 and receive $15,437.50 in DMC payments for all margin payments announced to date. Additional payments will be made if calculated margins remain below the $9.50 per cwt. level for any remaining months of 2019.
Advice to dairy farmers
“My message to those dairy producers who are hurting out there: Don’t leave this kind of financial assistance on the table,” said Northey, who announced the deadline extension on September 19, 2019, as part of a hearing in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. “Producers across the country have told us that DMC is a great risk management tool that works well, and it can work for you, too.”
“Dairy farmers have much to gain by signing up for this program, and another week to take advantage of this benefit can be nothing but helpful for them,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “We urge producers to take advantage of this added opportunity to sign up.”
“We appreciate USDA’s decision to extend the sign-up period for the DMC, and we are hopeful that more producers will sign up before the enrollment period ends. FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative believes that this program will perform much better than its predecessor and encourages all dairy farmers to sign up,” says John Rettler, president of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative and a dairy farmer from Neosho, Wis.
“We can’t emphasize it enough, this is a program all dairy farmers should sign up for,” says Rettler. “There are still improvements to be made over time to DMC, and much of the valuable feedback we receive is through producers who have experienced the program. Farmer participation allows for greater improvements later on.”