09.22.15

Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On The Extension Of The Dairy Margin Protection Program Deadline

[The United States Department of Agriculture Tuesday extended the signup deadline for the Dairy Margin Protection Program, a voluntary program created in the 2014 Farm Bill as a risk management tool for participating farmers when the margin -- the difference between the price of milk and a national average for feed costs -- falls below the coverage levels selected by individual farmers.  Leahy, the senior-most member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a conferee on the 2014 Farm Bill, was pivotal in the creation of the program.]  

“I thank Secretary Vilsack for recognizing that dairy farmers need more time to consider their options under the relatively new Margin Protection Program (MPP).  The previous signup deadline of September 30 would have hit many farmers at the height of their fall harvest season, and just when many are also making important decisions on enrollment in Agricultural Risk Coverage and other USDA programs.  This added time is needed to ensure that farmers can review all the information USDA has made available, and then to make the best decisions for their individual operations.  This signup extension, combined with the added flexibility USDA is giving farmers in how they pay their MPP premiums for insurance coverage for 2016, will help producers best use the MPP for their particular needs.”

The USDA Release can be found below for additional information.

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USDA Extends Dairy Margin Protection Program Deadline

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the deadline to enroll for the dairy Margin Protection Program for coverage in 2016 has been extended until Nov. 20, 2015.  The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.

“The fall harvest is a busy time of the year for agriculture, so this extension will ensure that dairy producers have more time to make their choices,” said Vilsack. “We encourage all operations to examine the protections offered by this program, because despite the very best forecasts, markets can change.”

Vilsack encouraged producers to use the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Agency Service (FSA) online Web resource at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation. The secure website can be accessed via computer, smartphone or tablet.

He also reminds operations that were enrolled in 2015 that they need to make a coverage election for 2016 and pay the $100 administration fee. Although any unpaid premium balances for 2015 must be paid in full by the enrollment deadline to remain eligible for higher coverage levels in 2016, premiums for 2016 are not due until Sept. 1, 2016. Also, producers can work with milk marketing companies to remit premiums on their behalf.

To enroll in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy, contact your local FSA county office.  To find your local FSA county office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.

Payments under the program may be reduced by a certain percentage due to a sequester order required by Congress and issued pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.  Should a payment reduction be necessary, FSA will reduce the payment by the required amount.

The Margin Protection Program for Dairy was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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