Smith: The U.S. Department of Agriculture reopened enrollment for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy this week. Signup for the 2018 coverage year will run from April 9, 2018 - June 1, 2018. John Newton, AFBF market intelligence director, discusses important modifications to the program under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
Newton: Increasing the catastrophic coverage level from four to five million pounds, and then making the program trigger monthly, instead of every two-month periods. Combined, it makes the program much more affordable and timelier in terms of delivering program payments to dairy farmers.
Smith: Newton says changes were made because the program didn’t work during its first two years of existence for dairy farmers.
Newton: Milk prices dropped by nearly 50 percent and yet dairy farmers didn’t get any type of meaningful of safety net protection from the Margin Protection Program. So, we at Farm Bureau worked with other industry stakeholders over the last two years to identify ways in which MPP could be improved and look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers on the 2018 farm bill.
Smith: Newton says the improved MPP provides dairy farmers with tools they'll need to successfully run their businesses.
Newton: It gives dairy farmers an opportunity to go back and pencil out to see if MPP would work for them for the 2018 coverage year. The secretary did make coverage retroactive for all of 2018 providing an important safety net protection for dairy farmers during this time of low milk prices.
Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.