Sign-Up Deadline for New Dairy Safety Net Pushed Back to December 19
December 4, 2014
Farmers have two more weeks to sign up for the revamped dairy safety net included in the 2014 farm bill. The Agriculture Department extended the enrollment deadline for the Margin Protection Program a second time on December 4. The new deadline is Friday, December 19.
NMPF, which had pushed for the extension, thanked the Agriculture Department for giving farmers more time. “With a busy harvest season and the favorable milk prices of recent months, many dairy farmers are just now taking the time to review their options and explore the need for the new program,” President and CEO Jim Mulhern said.
Mulhern said there are several good reasons for farmers to sign up for MPP now. “First,” he said, “the strong milk prices of 2014 are giving way to lower prices, which should prompt many to consider what type of risk management they need if prices drop further, or if feed costs soar.”
Mulhern cited the recent oil price crash as an example of how sudden changes can catch many by surprise. “No one expected oil prices would drop by 40 percent in just a few months,” he said, “but sudden movements up or down are frequent in commodity markets.”
In addition, Mulhern said, with U.S. milk production expected to increase by more than one percent this year, signing up for MPP boosts an individual farm’s production history going forward by the same amount as the national increase.
“MPP payments are based on past production, and that production history increases only with the rise in national milk production,” Mulhern said. “As a result, those who sign up now for 2015 coverage will benefit from this year’s increase in milk production, thus allowing them to insure a larger base in the future.”
NMPF has a variety of tools on its website and on a separate website devoted exclusively to the new program to help producers make their decisions. Included is a downloadable calculator on which producers can plug in their own numbers and get a sense of the program’s impact on their farm. Farmers who have already enrolled have the opportunity to change their coverage levels until December 19th.
“The most important New Year’s resolution a dairy farmer can make for 2015 is using the new Margin Protection Program to guard against low margin conditions at some point in the next year,” Mulhern said.