June 1 deadline nears for margin protection program

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Vermont dairy farmers are strongly encouraged to push the pencil and closely look at the Milk Margin Protection Program by June 1. The USDA program received upgrades in 2018.

“The improved Margin Protection Program could be a significant net financial benefit for most Vermont dairy farmers this year, especially with the important added funds from the state of Vermont, but only if farmers sign up,” said Senator Patrick Leahy. “Now is the time for dairies to sign up and take advantage of this extremely discounted risk protection. Whether you have 30 cows or 330, the forecasts from USDA are clear that you should sign up at the top level of $8, where lower premiums that I was able to secure, at 14.2 cents per hundred-weight, are now less than the 15-cent rate farmers pay for the Dairy Checkoff and promotion program.”

Now farmers could receive state dollars to sign up thanks to legislative leaders and Governor Phil Scott.

“Vermonters know how important dairy is to our economy, and that family farmers are struggling through incredibly tough times as milk prices continue to drop and feed, fuel and other production costs rise,” said Governor Phil Scott. “I’m pleased to support our family farms to ensure that Vermont farmers can afford to enlist in this federal program, which is important in this difficult period.”

The Milk Margin Protection Program offers dairy farmers a risk management tool to protect the margin between milk price and feed costs — one of the greatest costs of operating a dairy farm.

All dairy farmers are eligible to take part in the program if they are not already enrolled in the Livestock Gross Margin Program. The program insures the margin between the national all milk prices and a nationally calculated feed cost. The higher margin requires farmers to pay an insurance premium. Helping make the program more affordable Governor Scott and agriculture leaders in the Senate and House have agreed to help pay for some of the costs if farmers sign up.

Senator Bobby Starr of Orleans County said, “The Vermont legislature is very committed to helping one of our state’s most important businesses. The dairy industry is vital to our rural economy, landscape and most importantly, it promotes and protects our heritage.”

Under the proposal, Vermont will provide a minimum of $600 toward the insurance premiums for dairy farmers who take part in the program in 2018. This assistance could make this program even more attractive to farmers of different sizes.

All farmers need to complete their own calculations. Farmers should contact their local USDA Farm Services Office prior to the June 1 sign-up deadline to ensure that sign-up is completed in a timely manner.

Visit www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/Dairy-MPP/index for more information, calculation tools and contacts. — from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets.

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