NMPF: Give Dairy Farmers Two More Months to Enroll in Margin Protection Program


Source: National Milk Producers Federation

The nation’s dairy farmers need additional time this fall to consider their risk management options under the new Margin Protection Program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to the National Milk Producers Federation, which today asked the USDA to extend the MPP sign-up deadline by two months.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, NMPF said that the upcoming September 30 deadline to enroll in the MPP for 2016 coincides with the fall harvest in many parts of the nation, as well as with the ARC/PLC enrollment deadline.  Dairy farmers would benefit from additional time to weigh their options for utilizing both crop insurance and the dairy margin insurance, NMPF said.

The USDA granted two sign-up extensions last year for farmers electing coverage under the MPP, which resulted in a last-minute surge of participation for calendar year 2015.  Those extensions “greatly helped to boost enrollment while not complicating the administrative workload of county USDA offices. We believe a similar extension this year, until late November, will likewise enhance participation in the MPP,” wrote NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.

Mulhern thanked the USDA for providing dairy farmers more flexibility in how they pay their premiums for insurance coverage in the future. The USDA will now allow farmers until September 1, 2016, to pay 100% of their premium (previously, that deadline was June 1). The new date allows producers to pay their premium in whole or in part any time prior to September 1 of the coverage year.  That change also “could have a positive impact on farmers’ decisions regarding next year’s enrollment, but only if they have sufficient time to make an informed decision,” NMPF wrote.

The USDA also said this week it will allow farmers to pay their premiums to county Farm Service Agency offices through milk check deductions, if a farmer works out such an arrangement with his/her milk handler.

A sign-up extension “would also allow the USDA to continue to work on certain program elements that still need resolution or clarification,” Mulhern said. Critical elements that remain unresolved include enabling dairy farmers to purchase supplemental coverage without having their basic catastrophic coverage reduced below 90%; and protecting the next generation of farm families by accommodating intergenerational transfers of farm ownership.

Mulhern said that NMPF will continue its push to make the MPP safety net as useful as possible for farmers.  USDA’s actions “are a good step toward providing more flexibility under the MPP program, and we are continuing to work with the agency in an effort to secure additional changes.”



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Spell Check

Mike Eby
Gordonville, PA
9/18/2015 03:58 PM

  Lets face it, farmers have figured out this game last year. USDA can extend this until the cows come home, but dairy farmers will not fall for this scheme ever again. Shame on NMPF for even suggesting insurance as a solution. lawmakers defund poor legislation instead of fighting it. We farmers can do the same... Who is in favor of getting rid of NMPF who claims to speak for us? We can solve the problems simply by removing the problem maker.

gretchen maine
waterville, NY
9/18/2015 07:43 PM

  First of all, why on earth would farmers want to sign up for this farce of a program? By the time that they could ever collect on it, they might as well have an auction! Secondly, why doesn't NMPH get a brain and something else and actually do something to help its members instead of promote total garbage????

Appleton, WI
9/18/2015 10:01 AM

  Back when the program was in the making, dairy economists said the program was designed to make the decision far enough in advance of the actual market to act as true "catastrophic" insurance. The closer the decision is to the actual market, the easier it would be for the farmers to predict the markets. Why are we now asking for sign-up closer to the market? This doesn't make sense. The closet the sign-up is to the actual market scenario, the easier it will be for farmers to "game the system." Rules were put in place to avoid this "gaming" and we shouldn't stray from this.


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