Speaking at the National Milk Producers Federation annual meeting, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday announced the deadline to sign up for the Dairy Margin Protection Program authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill has been extended to Dec. 5.
The program 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.
"We want dairy producers to have enough time to make thoughtful and well-studied choices," Vilsack said. "Markets change and the Margin Protection Program can help protect dairy producers from those changes."
Vilsack said producers can use the online Margin Protection Program tool to calculate best coverage levels based on farm needs.
"Historical scenarios also can be explored to see how the Margin Protection Program would function should poor market conditions occur again in the future," Vilsack said. The secure website can be accessed via computer, smartphone or tablet.
USDA also extended the opportunity for public comments on both the Margin Protection Program and the Dairy Product Donation Program until Dec. 15, 2014.
"USDA is committed to creating strong opportunities for the next generation of farmers and ranchers. When dairy producers bring new family members into the business, these changes could affect safety net coverage," Vilsack said. "If our current rules hinder intergenerational changes or if improvements are needed in these programs, then we want to hear from dairy producers."
News source: USDA