NMPF’s Galen Urges DMC Signup

NMPF Senior Vice President Chris Galen detailed improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage program in an interview with the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. “We encourage people to look at the dairy margin coverage program if they’re not already covered or to make adjustments in their coverage levels, because you don’t know what’s going to happen with either milk prices or feed costs,” he said.

NMPF Statement on Farm Bill Extension in Funding Law

From NMPF President & CEO Jim Mulhern:

ARLINGTON, VA – “We commend House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairs Glenn Thompson and Debbie Stabenow, as well as Ranking Members David Scott and John Boozman, for their bipartisan work to finalize this farm bill extension as part of the congressional spending agreement President Biden signed today.

“Along with continuing critical programs for dairy farmers, the legislation allows the Dairy Margin Coverage program to continue operating without the uncertainty of a potential disruption. DMC is an important and effective safety net for dairy farmers nationwide. This legislation includes the 2019 production history update as part of the program, and we look forward to 2024 DMC sign-up in the coming weeks.

“With this bill passed, we stand ready to work closely with the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to deliver a strong, five-year farm bill as swiftly as possible.”

Congress’s Bumpy Start Could Smooth Farm Bill

By Paul Bleiberg, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, NMPF.

The beginning of each new Congress is marked by a period of temporary excitement, borne of optimism that legislators will put aside political differences to finally enact solutions to problems affecting Americans from all walks of life.

The opening of the 118th Congress earlier this month presented a different picture. While the usual political disputes between the two parties remain, the first days of this congress featured not a contrast between Republicans and Democrats, but instead disagreements among Republicans about who to elect as Speaker of the House and, more fundamentally, how to govern the institution for the next two years.

Ultimately, after four days of intense negotiation that occurred both in private meetings and in public on the House floor, Republicans voted to elect California Representative Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House for the 118th Congress. Six Republican members who had voted against McCarthy on previous ballots chose to vote ‘present’ on the final ballot, clearing a path for McCarthy to claim the Speaker’s gavel.

Personalities certainly played a role in this conflict and its resolution, but so did significant discussions about the ability of individual members to influence the legislation that advances in the House. Part of the agreement that got McCarthy elected speaker allows members to offer many amendments to bills that reach the floor, a departure from recent practice. Amendment debate and votes can sometimes smooth over bumps in the road to a bill’s passage, but they also can create new obstacles.

This may seem like ‘inside baseball,’ but it is of great importance to one piece of legislation expected to advance this year: the 2023 Farm Bill. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) kicked off that process with a recent listening session at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. Many hearings are expected this spring in both the House and Senate agriculture committees.

Soon after that, the work of drafting the bill will begin. Members on and off the committees will seek to have their say. Yes, this means Congress may take votes on a wide range of amendments to the farm bill, good and bad. Hopefully, the amendment process will help to expand the bipartisan, bicameral consensus that will be needed to enact a farm bill, and not detract from it. But dairy will need to do its part to make sure the process doesn’t work to the detriment of its interests. That means we’ll be striving to maintain the Dairy Margin Coverage program and separate risk management tools, with tweaks as needed, and to ensure dairy’s needs are met in other key titles like conservation, trade, and nutrition.

Dairy will be engaging closely to help guide Congress to that outcome. The beginning of the new Congress wasn’t the most auspicious in terms of unity. Even so, policy progress is always possible, and on the farm bill and other issues, we will work with both sides of the aisle – and even both sides of one aisle should there be conflicts – to get things done.

This column originally appeared in Hoard’s Dairyman Intel on Jan. 23, 2023.

NMPF’s Galen on DMC Signup


NMPF Senior Vice President Chris Galen reminds farmers of the upcoming Dec. 9 deadline to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage Program in an interview with the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. This year’s payments under the program — the result of high input costs eating into record prices — show the wisdom of DMC’s design, Galen said.  “As we head into 2023, we know that milk prices aren’t going to be as strong,” Galen said. “We know that input costs are still going to be significant.”

DMC Pays Again in September

The September margin under the Dairy Margin Coverage program was $8.62/cwt, up by $0.54/cwt from the August margin and generating a payment of $0.88/cwt for Tier 1 coverage at the $9.50/cwt level under the program.

The September U.S. average all-milk price rose $0.10/cwt from August. The DMC feed cost formula produced a $0.45/cwt lower feed cost for the month, due almost entirely to lower soybean meal and corn prices (numbers don’t add exactly due to rounding).

Together, the September payment and the August one for $1.42/cwt will return more to producers enrolled for $9.50.cwt Tier 1 coverage than their annual premium payments. Current forecasts indicate that, of the remaining three months in 2022, additional margin coverage payments are most likely to occur in December.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency opened enrollment for both calendar year 2023 DMC and for Supplemental DMC on Oct. 17. The deadline to enroll is Dec. 9, 2022.

NMPF’s Bjerga on the Dairy Economy, FMMO Modernization and Fake Milk


NMPF Senior Vice President for Communications, Alan Bjerga, discusses dairy issues ranging from pricing to fake milk with KASM radio of Albany, MN, at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Issues Forum in Washington, DC. Record milk prices are coming with higher costs as well; meanwhile, NMPF is positioned to lead on Federal Milk Marketing Order modernization, a farmer-led process.

NMPF’s Bjerga on How DMC Fights Inflation


NMPF Senior Vice President of Communications Alan Bjerga explains how the Dairy Margin Coverage Program helps protect farmers against rising feed-cost inflation by factoring in higher expenses even as milk prices reach records. Bjerga also talks about the potential market effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and spells his last name for listeners in an interview with WEKZ radio, Janesville, Wisconsin.

NMPF’s Mulhern Speaks at Annual Meeting


NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern speaks at the organization’s annual meeting in Las Vegas, NV on Nov. 16.

DMC Margin Payment Falls in April as Milk Prices Improve

The April payment under the Dairy Margin Coverage program fell $0.48/cwt from March to $2.56/cwt for $9.50/cwt coverage, as higher milk prices that easily outstripped rising corn costs boosted margins. The April U.S. average all-milk price rose a full dollar per hundredweight from a month earlier to $18.40/cwt, while the April DMC feed cost calculation was $0.52/cwt higher, due almost entirely to a higher corn price.

Current futures prices indicate that the DMC program margins will continue to rise at a moderate pace, thus reducing monthly payments, and surpass $9.50/cwt by late summer. USDA reported last week that as of May 24, estimated DMC payments for this year have exceeded $344 million.

NMPF Thanks Congress for Dairy Provisions in COVID Assistance Package

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) thanked Congress today for the positive steps it is taking through COVID relief legislation to assist dairy farmers who have faced unprecedented market volatility while working every day to nourish struggling families.

“With difficult months of the pandemic still ahead, it was crucial for lawmakers to come to a bipartisan agreement that helps farmers do what they do best: feed families. To do this, they need financial stability and ways to connect to families in need. We thank Congress for its leadership, and we look forward to working with USDA in implementing this legislation. Importantly, this package includes nearly $1 billion in targeted support to help dairy producers continue to feed families throughout these difficult times,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO.

Highlights of the pandemic legislative package for dairy producers include:

  • Dairy Donation Program – the measure provides $400 million for a new NMPF-backed Dairy Donation Program to help dairy stakeholders and non-profits work together to provide dairy products to food-insecure households and minimize food waste. This program is carefully balanced and is open to all dairy products. NMPF is grateful to Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) for their leadership in securing this and other dairy provisions in the package.
  • Payment Limits Flexibility – the bill includes dedicated funding to allow USDA to provide additional compensation to producers who were unable to receive the full support they needed under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program on account of payment limitations. NMPF thanks Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) for advocating for this provision, as well as the many members who have sought flexibility on this front all year long including Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA).
  • Supplemental DMC Payments – the measure establishes Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage payments for farms that have increased their DMC production history since 2014. These payments will be based on the difference between the farm’s 2019 actual production and its DMC production history. While the provision is targeted to smaller operations, it will enhance the farm bill baseline for all dairy farmers as it runs concurrently with DMC up to 2023.
  • Paycheck Protection Improvements – the bill includes the bipartisan NMPF-backed Paycheck Protection for Producers Act which would make the Paycheck Protection Program work better for sole proprietor, independent contractor, and self-employed dairy farmers by allowing them to use their 2019 gross farm income to determine their PPP loan amounts. NMPF commends Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), and John Joyce (R-PA) for their work on this measure.

Dairy producers will also be eligible for support in the $11 billion agricultural disaster assistance package Congress has included in the legislation, with additional details expected in coming days. Of note, at least $1.5 billion of this package is dedicated to additional product purchases.

NMPF has served its members as the leading advocate for U.S. dairy farmers throughout the coronavirus pandemic. It has also been an industry leader in providing useful informational resources for the dairy sector.

Podcast: Sen. Pat Roberts on His Past and Agriculture’s Future

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts is leaving Congress after 40 years in January. The only person to lead both the House and Senate agriculture committees takes with him a wealth of wisdom in agriculture policy – but also holds optimism for agriculture’s ability to get things done in an environment of difficult challenges.

“I would just say that I am very confident that the people who will be taking my place, they have a lot of experience,” Roberts said in a Dairy Defined interview released today. “They’re good folks. I think the same attempt, at least, with regards to making it bipartisan, will continue.”

Roberts, who first came to Washington as a congressional staffer a half-century ago, also reflects on the two farm bills he led — 1996’s Freedom to Farm law and the 2018 bill — as well as one area where he wished he could have done more: his leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee during the Iraq War. He also said he doesn’t consider his career to be over – without revealing plans, he said that when it comes to farm policy, “I intend to have my finger in the pie somewhere.”

To listen to the full discussion, click here. You can also find this and other NMPF podcasts on iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, SpotifySoundCloud and Google Play. Broadcast outlets may use the MP3 file. Please attribute information to NMPF.