By Rob Vandenheuvel, California Milk Producers Council
It may seem somewhat odd to be talking about the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program at a time of historically high milk prices, but due to the passage of the Farm Bill earlier this year, there may be some paperwork needed to make sure your dairy is able to take advantage of the program, if necessary.
While the MILC program will eventually be replaced by the "Margin Protection Program" later this year, the Farm Bill did temporarily extend the MILC program in the meantime. That means that if payments under the MILC program were to be available between now and about September 1, 2014, your dairy could be eligible to receive those payments.
As you recall, for most dairies in California, the selection of a "start month" is critical for the MILC program. Your start month for this year is set for whatever your dairy’s start month was last year. That may or may not be acceptable to you, depending on how long it takes your dairy to produce up to the 2.985 million pound volume "cap" on the program.
If you wish to modify your start month to later this year, in order to provide your dairy with more flexibility as the dairy markets change on a daily basis, your local FSA office can process those changes during a special "relief period" from now through May 30th. Contact your local FSA office.
Of course it goes without saying that we certainly hope there are no MILC payments between now and the end of the program.