17,000 Dairy Farmers Enroll in New Safety Net

Nearly 17,000 dairy producers so far have signed up for the new Dairy Margin Coverage Program, which offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost, known as the margin, falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

USDA undersecretary Bill Northey calls the enrollment data encouraging, but added, “We are hopeful that we will get more folks in the door.” To date, more than 60 percent of dairies with established production histories have enrolled in the program.

Wisconsin has seen the most participants with more than 4,800 dairy operations, followed by Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan. USDA’s Farm Service Agency began issuing program payments to producers on July 11. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at the time called the choice to sign-up a “no-brainer” as the retroactive coverage through January has already assured 2019 payments will exceed the required premiums.

The Department of Agriculture on Monday reported the data with a reminder the sign-up period closes September 20.