U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the deadline to enroll for the dairy Margin Protection Program has been extended until Nov. 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," Vilsack said in a news release. "We encourage all operations to examine the protections offered by this program, because despite the very best forecasts, markets can change."
In the release, Vilsack encouraged producers to use the department's Farm Agency Service website, at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation.
The release also reminds producers who 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. Producers can work with milk marketing companies to remit premiums on their behalf, according to the release.
To enroll in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy, contact the FSA's office in Carroll County at 410-848-2780.