Sonny Perdue, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, is encouraging dairy producers to consider enrolling in the new Margin Protection Program for Dairy. The USDA feels the new plan could provide better protections against shifting milk and feed prices. Changes were authorized under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, with the enrollment period set to run from April 9 to June 1, 2018.
The program looks to protect dairy producers by paying them when the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost falls below a certain dollar amount elected by the producer. Changes to the program include:
- Calculations of the margin period is monthly rather than bi-monthly.
- Covered production is increased to five million pounds on the Tier 1 premium schedule.
- Premium rates for Tier 1 are lower.
- An exemption from paying an administrative fee for limited resource, beginning, veteran and disadvantaged producers. Dairy operators enrolled in the previous 2018 enrollment period that qualify for this exemption under the new provisions may request a refund.
Coverage elections made for 2018 will be retroactive to January 1, 2018. All dairy operations desiring coverage must sign up during the enrollment period and submit an appropriate form (CCC-782) and dairy operations may still “opt out” by not submitting a form. All outstanding balances for 2017 and prior years must be paid in full before 2018 coverage is approved.