Dairy cows

About 23,000 dairy farms are now covered under a Farm Bill program that will assist producers if feed prices and milk prices reach a predetermined level. Those levels vary based on predetermined levels under the insurance program.

Half of US dairy operations enroll in farm bill program

2014 Farm Bill offers variety of programs for U.S. agriculture U.S. dairy industry is coming off of year of record-high milk prices with softer input costs Milk prices forecast to soften in 2015

More than half of America’s dairy farms took advantage of a Farm Bill program that will assist dairy producers if the difference between feed costs and milk fall below a predetermined level.

In all, about 23,000 dairy operations elected to participate in the voluntary program.

Known as the Margin Protection Program (MPP), the safety-net feature in the 2014 Farm Bill offers dairy producers a range of choices of financial protection best suited for their operations, according to the USDA.

“Enrollment far exceeded our expectations in the first year,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The 2014 program replaced the Market Income Loss Contracts, or MILC program under the previous Farm Bill.

MPP is a voluntary program that provides different levels of assistance to farmers that they choose. A $100 administrative fee allows producers to participate. A baseline program allows dairy producers to participate for only the cost of the administrative fee. Other levels of coverage carry premium costs as well.

About half of those who applied to participate in the program elected higher levels of coverage.

“We’re pleased that so many dairy producers are taking advantage of the expanded protection," Vilsack continued.

Dairy producers interested in enrolling in the Margin Protection Program for Fiscal Year 2016 can register between July 1, and Sept. 30.

To learn more about the Margin Protection Program, visit the Farm Service Agency (FSA) online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/ or contact a local FSA office at offices.usda.gov.

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