The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) expressed thanks to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for his department’s decision to give dairy farmers additional time to review their 2018 coverage options in the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Monday it is extending the June 1 sign-up deadline to Friday, June 8. NMPF, along with key members of the U.S. Senate, had recently asked USDA to consider giving farmers additional time to enroll in, or adjust their existing coverage in, the MPP for calendar year 2018.
“We believe an extension of the sign-up period beyond the June 1 deadline will be beneficial in recruiting as many farmers as possible into the program,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “In particular, the late spring planting in numerous dairy states, especially in the Midwest, means that many farmers have been in their fields in recent weeks and unable to sit down and make decisions about their risk management options available through USDA.”
Dairy producers must select new coverage in the MPP for 2018, even if they enrolled during the previous sign-up period last fall. Coverage choices made this spring for calendar year 2018 will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018. Producers can participate in either MPP or the Livestock Gross Margin program for dairy (LGM-Dairy), but not both.
NMPF also thanked members of the Senate for making a similar request to USDA to allow farmers additional time to enroll in the MPP. Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Rob Portman (R-OH) spearheaded a bipartisan letter making the request on May 31, and Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) advocated strongly for an extension to build on their success earlier this year in making legislative improvements to the structure of the MPP.
Mulhern also complimented USDA for planning to issue payments starting this week to farmers already enrolled in the MPP, saying that the “timely issuance of payments to producers will send an important signal to additional producers who are considering enrolling.”
USDA’s web tool allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. NMPF’s Future for Dairy website also offers informative resources and tools to help farmers determine the best insurance options for their operations.