WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today extended by two week’s the deadline for dairy farmers to sign up for a new insurance program. Farmers now have until Dec. 19 to enroll in the new Margin Protection Program.
“This extension is helpful to Vermont’s dairy farmers as well as those across the country who may still be weighing their options,” Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said. “Many are looking at the latest market forecasts with dropping prices and are considering increasing their protection levels under the insurance program. For dairy farmers who have not yet contacted their local county USDA Farm Service Agency offices, now is the time to pick up the phone and make an appointment or just drop in. This is a small but important step to ensure coverage.”
Leahy, Sanders and Welch also encouraged dairy producers to go online to use the Web tool at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool to find the best levels of coverage for their particular dairy operations. Farmers can simply enter their specific operation data and explore price projections to determine what levels of coverage is best for them. The tool also allows them to compare data to see how the program would have helped in previous years, such as 2008, when margins dropped from $8 to $3 in just three months. The online resource is on a secure website that can be accessed from computers, mobile phones or tablets, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Farmers who do not sign up now for the 2015 calendar year will also miss out on the opportunity for a reduced premium rate for their first 4 million pounds of production for this initial year of the program’s operation. A 25 percent reduction in the premium rates for margin levels of $4.50 to $7.50 for calendar year 2015 was a provision added to the 2014 farm bill.