The number of dairy farmers across America has dwindled significantly in recent years. Low milk prices and high feed costs are the primary culprits.
Now, there’s a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) insurance program that promises to bring some stability. It’s called the Dairy Margin Coverage program.
The USDA Farm Service Agency hosted a meeting in Oronoco Monday to educate local dairy farmers about the program and answer any questions.
“Essentially what it is, is it’s an insurance program so producers can ensure some profitability for their dairy,” said Rich Bauer, USDA Farm Service Agency County Executive Director.
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, the USDA was able to construct the program with the goal of creating some stability for these farmers.
“We look at the national milk price is and we compare that to the feed cost of producing 100 pounds of milk,” said Bauer. “You can insure up to a $9.50 margin and whenever it gets over a $9.50 margin then we will start subsidizing that difference.”
So, if feed costs get extremely high or milk prices get extremely low in relationship to feed costs, then the USDA’s Farm Service Agency is able to step in and help.
This will replace the previous program known as the Margin Protection Program for Dairy.
“It’s similar to the last program but it’s improved,”said Bauer. “The fees are less and the coverage is more.”
Farmers across Olmsted County have been feeling the pressure to make ends meet the past few years. They know this isn’t a permanent solution, more of a temporary fix.
“It will help,” said dairy farmer Donny Thompson. “Just looking at the number, it’s not going to keep us in business but it will help.”
“I mean every little bit helps I guess,” said dairy farmer Corey Hoffman. “Like every farmer, not just dairy producers, we hope to get a decent price for our product that way we aren’t asking for a government handouts all the time.”
Farmers can participate year to year or lock in for five years.
Sign-up goes from June 17th until September 20th.
In case you missed Monday’s meeting, there will be three more this week:
Tuesday, June 18th; 1 p.m. at the Dodge County Farm Service Agency Office
Wednesday, June 19th; 1 p.m. at the Oronoco Peoples Energy Coop
Thursday, June 20th; 1 p.m. at the Dodge County Farm Service Agency Office
For more information about the Dairy Margin Coverage program, click here.