According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), roughly 47 percent of eligible producers in California have signed up for the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program with estimated payments totaling nearly $14.5 million. Nationally, producers of nearly 17,000 dairy operations have signed up for the program. Producers have been actively applying for the program since it became available back in June and will have the opportunity to enroll until Friday, September 20.
“We’re encouraged by the number of dairy producers who have signed up for this new program, but we are hopeful that we will get more folks in the door,” USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said in a press release. “At this point in the signup process, we are well ahead of the number of producers covered at this time last year under the previous safety net program, with more producers enrolling every day.”
When enrolling for the program, dairy producers can choose coverage levels ranging from $4 up to $9.50. Beginning on July 11, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has been issuing payments to producers who are participating in the margin coverage program. So far, more than 60 percent of all U.S. dairies with established production histories have signed up for the program.
“As we move into the homestretch, we expect more producers across the country to get coverage through DMC and our team at FSA is really going above and beyond to make sure we get the word out there, the returns this year to-date should speak for themselves,” said Northey.
The new DMC program was authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill to replace the Margin Protection Program for Dairy. The voluntary risk management program provides protection to dairy producers when the margin between the all-milk price and the average feed cost falls below a particular dollar amount that is selected by the producer. Coverage under the program is retroactive to January 1, 2019. Weekly production and payment reports, as well as enrollment information is available at FSA’s DMC webpage.