The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Monday that more than 23,000 of the nation's dairy operations – over half of all dairy farms in America – have enrolled in the new safety-net program created by the 2014 Farm Bill. The voluntary Margin Protection Program, which IDFA supported during the Farm Bill debate, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.
"Enrollment far exceeded our expectations in the first year," said Vilsack. "We're pleased that so many dairy producers are taking advantage of the expanded protection.”
Unlike earlier dairy programs, the Margin Protection Program offers dairy producers a range of choices of protection that are best suited for their operation. Starting with basic coverage for an administrative fee of $100, producers can select higher levels of coverage at affordable incremental premiums. More than half of applicants selected higher coverage beyond the basic level. USDA did not provide information on the volume of milk production covered by the enrollments.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.