USDA extends Dairy Margin Protection Program deadline

Farm Forum

Over the past nine months, USDA staff in offices around the country have been hard at work implementing new initiatives under the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Service Agency in particular has been tasked with getting a number of new safety net features off the ground for farmers and ranchers, including the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs. Because these new programs are important to farmers’ and ranchers’ businesses, USDA also wants to make sure plenty of time and tools are available to help farmers and ranchers make the best decisions for their operations.

Last month, Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that America’s milk producers have an extra week to enroll in the voluntary Dairy Margin Protection Program. The program provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer. The original sign up deadline was November 28, 2014, the day after Thanksgiving. The deadline has been moved to December 5, 2014, which allows both FSA staff and dairy producers to spend more time with their families over the holiday.

Secretary Vilsack made this announcement in person to several hundred dairy producers at the National Milk Producers Federation annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. The news was well-received, and he also encouraged the audience to make use of the online Web resource at to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation. The public comment period for the Margin Protection Program and the Dairy Product Donation Program has also been extended until December 15, and the Secretary reminded the producers of the importance of making their voices heard.

For more information on the Dairy Margin Protection Program, visit For more information on the USDA’s progress implementing the 2014 Farm Bill, visit