OMAHA (DTN) -- Dairy farmers may have just finished enrollment for the Dairy Margin Coverage program for 2019, but USDA has just opened enrollment for calendar year 2020.
"We know it's tough out there for American farmers, including our dairy producers," Bill Northey, undersecretary for farm production and conservation, said in a news release. "As Secretary (Sonny) Perdue said, farmers are pretty good at managing through tough times, and we know that more dairy farmers will be able to survive with this 2018 Farm Bill and its risk mitigation measures, like the Dairy Margin Coverage program."
All dairy farmers who want 2020 coverage must visit their local USDA Service Center office to pay the annual administrative fee, which is $100 for the lowest level catastrophic coverage. Producers must visit their local office even if they locked in coverage for five years to take advantage of the 25% premium discount. Enrollment for the 2020 DMC runs through Dec. 13.
"Dairy producers should definitely consider coverage for 2020 as even the slightest drop in the margin can trigger payments," said Northey. "Dairy producers should consider enrolling in DMC to guard against what has been, for several years, an extremely unforgiving market."
The DMC 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.
For the 2019 enrollment, USDA reports 22,682 operations signed up for DMC, which the department stated amounts to just under 81% of dairy farms with established production history. As of Monday, dairy farmers have received $303.9 million, or an average of $13,400 per operation.
Looking at individual states, Wisconsin has the highest number of dairies enrolled at 5,792 operations signed up, or about 86% of those operations with production history. In total, Wisconsin farmers have received $67.9 million in DMC payments, the largest in the nation.
A few states have significantly smaller percentages of dairies enrolled. Georgia, for instance, has 219 dairy farms with production history, but just 120 signed up for the 2019 program, or under 55%.
DMC enrollment information is updated weekly and can be found at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/….
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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