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More than half of the U.S. Dairy operations have enrolled in the new Margin Protection Program for 2015
January 14, 2015

The Agriculture Department announced Monday that more than half of U.S. dairy operations have enrolled in the new Margin Protection Program for 2015.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “Enrollment far exceeded our expectations in the first year. We’re pleased that so many dairy producers are taking advantage of the expanded protection. USDA conducted a lot of outreach to get the word out. When you compare the initial enrollment rate for the Margin Protection Program to the longstanding federal crop insurance program, where participation ranges from 30 percent to 80 percent depending on the crop, it’s clear that these outreach efforts made a difference.”

National Milk President and CEO Jim Mulhern called the announcement “an encouraging start to this crucial new safety net program for our industry.”

A NMPF press release reports that more than 23,000 dairy operations signed up for the program during the three-month window that ran until Dec. 19, 2014, according to USDA data, a sum that represents about half of the overall number of dairy farms in America.

“The margin protection program is a welcome improvement to federal dairy policy, and comes at an important time to help farmers deal with what will be a more challenging economic outlook in 2015,” Mulhern said. “The MPP is now the only widely available tool to help farmers protect against both lower milk prices and higher feed costs. It represents a new paradigm in shared responsibility between farmers and the government to cover the cost of that insurance.”

While the USDA has yet to release the volume of U.S. milk production covered under the program, anecdotal reports indicated that the sign-up extensions granted after Thanksgiving, coupled with a sharp downturn in milk price forecasts for 2015, encouraged additional participation prior to the Dec. 19 cutoff.

The next MPP sign-up period will begin in six months, during an open season enrollment window for MPP coverage in calendar year 2016. That enrollment period will run from July 1 until Sept. 30.


Source: Capital Press


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