'Start Month' Can Affect MILC Payments

September 7, 2010 05:20 AM

By Rob Vandenheuvel, California Milk Producers Council

Various dairy economists have pointed out that payments under the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program could resume next spring, based on projected milk prices and feed costs. For dairies that produce less than 2,985,000 lbs of milk per year (roughly 150 cow herd), you are
likely already set up to collect payments for every month the program is triggered.
But for larger dairies, the “start month” you select is important if you are trying to maximize the program’s impact. For the MILC program, the fiscal year runs from October 2010 – September 2011. For those of you who have selected October 2010 as your “start month,” your payments will begin as soon as a payment is available.
However, this may not be the highest month for you to select. For instance, according to projections on the Cornell University website, the payment in March 2011 could be $0.12 per cwt, while the payment in July 2011 could be $0.53 per cwt. For those dairies that only collect MILC payments for a short amount of time, it’s important that you have the flexibility to choose the optimal “start month.”
Dairy producers are urged to contact your local Farm Services Agency office and find out what your current start month is. If your current start month is October 2011 and you’d like to change your start month, your modification must be received by the FSA office no later than Tuesday, September 14, 2010.

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