The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended the deadline for dairy producers to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage program for 2019.

The new deadline is Friday, Sept. 27.

The Dairy Margin Coverage program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

The program is authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and available through the USDA Farm Service Agency.

"More than 21,200 dairy operations have already signed up for DMC, but we’re providing an additional week to help ensure interested producers have time to come into the office," Bill Northey, USDA under secretary for farm production and conservation, said in a news release. "With smaller margins and increased feed costs, DMC has resulted in almost $230 million in payments disbursed.

"I know that some farmers may still be cautious given their experiences with former dairy support programs, but producers who have not signed up yet should come into a local office to learn how much money the program can put into their pockets."

Dairy producers who elect higher coverage levels could be eligible for payments for all seven months and the amount paid to dairy farmers will exceed the cost of the premium, under certain levels.

According to the USDA for example, a dairy operation that chooses to enroll for 2019 with an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) and elects the $9.50 coverage level on 95% of production will pay $4,275 in total premium payments for all of 2019 and receive $15,437.50 in DMC payments for all margin payments announced to date.

If calculated margins remain below the $9.50/cwt. level for any remaining months of 2019, additional payments will be made.

"My message to those dairy producers who are hurting out there: Don’t leave this kind of financial assistance on the table," Northey said. "Producers across the country have told us that DMC is a great risk management tool that works well, and it can work for you, too."

 

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