NMPF has sent a series of recommendations to the Agriculture Department on how to implement the new dairy safety net included the 2014 farm bill. The Margin Protection Program, or MPP, is a voluntary risk management plan that will address fluctuations in margins caused by high feed costs as well as low milk prices. NMPF was instrumental in the program’s enactment.
NMPF’s recommendations, forwarded in mid-April, cover 17 issues that are either unclear in the legislation or were left up to USDA to decide. Included are the timing for first-year and subsequent registrations; the timing and structure of premium payments from farmers enrolled in the program; and how farms with different ownership structures will be treated. Several recommendations involve the operation of the dairy product donation program that will be triggered when margins are extremely low.
NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said he is pleased with discussions with the Agriculture Department over the new program so far. “While USDA has not yet made final determinations on any specific program provisions,” he said, “we are pleased with the positive dialogue and level of understanding we’ve seen.”
Mulhern said NMPF’s goal is to achieve a Margin Protection Program that is both producer-friendly and maintains fiscal integrity in future years. The program is scheduled to be rolled out on or before September 1st.