10.29.14

Leahy Hails Extension Of Signup Deadline For New Dairy Price Insurance Program For Farmers

. . . Also Urges Vermont Farmers To Take Advantage Of Deadline Extension For Comment Period On The New Program’s Future

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is urging Vermont’s dairy farmers to take advantage of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s decision to extend for a week the signup period for the new dairy farm production price insurance program created under the 2014 Farm Bill. 

Vilsack on Wednesday afternoon announced that the signup deadline for the new Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) will be extended to December 5, 2014, and that the comment period for the new MPP-Dairy rule would be extended until December 15, 2014.

Leahy said, “This extension is good and useful news for dairy farmers in Vermont and across the country who are weighing their options and still learning about the new Margin Protection Program for Dairy.  USDA and the University of Vermont Extension Service have worked hard to help educate farmers across our state, and we all recognize that farmers will need more time.  This will give them more time to study their options and make informed decisions on signing up for this new risk management tool.”

Leahy has encouraged dairy producers to use the online MPP-Dairy web tool at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool to determine the best coverage levels for their farms.  Leahy, the most senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a conferee on the Farm Bill, pushed to ensure that the web tool was authorized and funded in this year’s Farm Bill to allow farmers to review past market scenarios to help them better understand how the new program would help if poor market conditions arise in the dairy sector.  The web tool is run on a secure website that can be accessed by computers, tablets and smartphones.

Leahy has also urged dairy farmers, especially new and beginning farmers, to consider submitting public comments on the Margin Protection Program rule that will guide the program’s future.

“All dairy farmers in Vermont, including beginning farmers, and those who plan to become dairy farmers, have the opportunity to help shape this program to ensure that it will work for the next generation of farmers,” Leahy said.  “Parents hoping to bring their children into their operations in the coming years should consider commenting about how this safety net should cover potential growth in their production.  It is important that this program not hinder inter-generational growth, and that it does not encourage gaming of the program or excess production that runs counter to market signals.  The Agriculture Department needs to hear from dairy producers, and especially our young co-op members and those future farmers considering a return to their family farms.”

Comments can be submitted to USDA via the http://regulations.gov website at http://go.usa.gov/GJSA.

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