Ag Policy Blog

USDA Announces Several Program Updates

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent

Editor’s note: The Agriculture Department has made a number of program announcements this week. Here are summaries of them:

FSA announces March Dairy Margin Coverage payment

The Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency announced Tuesday that the March income over feed cost margin was $8.85 per hundredweight, triggering the third payment for dairy producers who purchase the appropriate level of coverage under the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

DMC, which replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy), 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.

“I encourage all dairy operations to sign up for DMC when we begin accepting applications in June,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “Under certain coverage levels, the amount to be paid to dairy farmers for the months of January, February and March already exceed the cost of the premium.”

The signup period for DMC opens June 17. Dairy producers who elect a DMC coverage level between $9 and $9.50 would be eligible for a payment for January, February and March, Fordyce said.

RMA Announces Dual Grain and Graze Insurance Coverage

The Agriculture Department’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) on Tuesday said that the annual forage pilot program for 2020 offers a “dual use option” in select counties of six Great Plains states that allows producers to insure their small grains crop with both an annual forage policy for grazing and a multi-peril small grains policy for grain.

“These changes allow crop insurance to provide coverage and recognize a practice that farmers and ranchers have used for years in certain parts of the country,” said RMA Administrator Martin Barbre. “The dual use option is allowed under provisions in the 2018 farm bill.”

“The dual use option is ideal for producers who plant a small grain by October 15, 2019, to use as a grazing crop over the winter and to harvest for grain the next summer,” USDA said.

The option is available in counties in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas where RMA considers “grain/graze” a good farming practice.

??? USDA Risk Management Agency — Annual Forage…

NRCS Publishes Rule on Technical Changes to Programs

The Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service on Monday posted an interim final rule in the Federal Register to make changes in existing regulations consistent with the 2018 farm bill.

The rule makes several changes expanding the membership on the State Technical Committee and expanding the avenues through which technical service providers can be certified.

Other changes include the administration of the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act Program, Healthy Forests Reserve Program, and the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program.

??? USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service — NRCS Announces Changes to Strengthen Technical Input in Conservation Programs…

FSA Announces Availability of Organic Cost Share Funds

The Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency announced Monday that organic producers and handlers can apply for federal funds to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program.

Applications for fiscal 2019 funding are due Oct. 31, 2019 at local FSA county offices.

Certified producers and handlers are eligible to receive reimbursement for up to 75% of certification costs each year, up to a maximum of $750 per certification scope, including crops, livestock, wild crops, handling and state organic program fees.

??? USDA Farm Service Agency — Organic Certification Cost Share Program…

USDA Launches Online Organic Training

The Agriculture Department on Monday announced it has established the Organic Integrity Learning Center to train professionals in the organic industry.

“The Learning Center supports the professional development and continuing education of professionals working to protect organic integrity including certifiers, inspectors, reviewers and compliance specialists in organic businesses,” USDA said in a news release.

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service — Organic Training…

Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at

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