Milk price protection program deadline nears for farmers

VERMONT — The Margin Protection Program (MPP), a USDA program available to dairy producers through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides financial assistance to participating dairy operations when the margin — the difference between the price of milk and feed costs — falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer. This voluntary program was established by the 2014 Farm Bill. For coverage in 2016, enrollment began July 1 and ends on Sept. 30, 2015.
The Margin Protection Program gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Producers also have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year.  Margin Protection Program payments are based on the dairy farm’s historical production. If the operation participated in 2015, their historical production will increase by 2.61 percent in 2016, providing a stronger safety net. Participating farmers will remain in the program through 2018 and pay a $100 administrative fee each year.
USDA also has an online resource available to help dairy producers decide which level of coverage will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The enhanced web tool, available at, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine their unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, mobile phone, or tablet, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Dairy operations enrolling in the Margin Protection Program must meet conservation compliance provisions. Producers participating in the Livestock Gross Margin insurance program may register for the Margin Protection Program, but this new margin program will only begin once their livestock dairy insurance coverage has ended. Producers must also submit form CCC-782 for 2016, confirming their Margin Protection Program coverage level selection, to the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. If electing higher coverage for 2016, dairy producers can either pay the premium in full at the time of enrollment or pay a minimum of 25 percent of the premium by Feb. 1, 2016.
For more information, visit FSA online at for more information, or stop by a local FSA office to learn more about the Margin Protection Program. To find a local FSA office in your area, visit

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