USDA extends dairy market protection program deadline | TSLN.com

USDA extends dairy market protection program deadline

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday that the deadline to enroll for the dairy Margin Protection Program for coverage in 2016 has been extended until November 20.

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 Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency online resource to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation.

He also reminds producers 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.

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, USDA noted. Should a payment reduction be necessary, FSA will reduce the payment by the required amount.

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The National Milk Producers Federation thanked Vilsack for extending the deadline and noted that NMPF last week asked USDA to extend it.

"A similar signup period extension last fall greatly helped to boost enrollment in the program in calendar year 2015. We believe this extension, until November 20th, will likewise enhance participation in the MPP in the coming year," said National Milk President and CEO Jim Mulhern in a news release.

–the Hagstrom Report