Only 36% of PA dairy farmers have signed up for federal program to help dairy operations

Only 36% of Pennsylvania farmers have signed up for a federal program that provides dairy operations with risk management coverage.

That represents 2,238 dairy farms out of the 6,200 that are currently in the state.

The USDA describes the daily margin coverage as a voluntary program that "provides dairy operations with risk management coverage that will pay producers when the difference (the margin) between the national price of milk and the average cost of feed falls below a certain level selected by the program participants."

The program runs for 5 years and all dairy operations in the nation are eligible to take part.

The daily margin coverage program authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill is described as a replacement to the margin protection program for dairy.

Congress made several changes to the margin protection program in 2018 after feedback from dairy producers.

Those changes include, according to the USDA:

- Calculations of the margin period is monthly rather than bi-monthly
- Covered production is increased to 5 million pounds on the Tier 1 premium schedule, and premium rates for Tier 1 are substantially lowered
- An exemption from paying an administrative fee for limited resource, beginning, veteran, and disadvantaged producers. Dairy operators enrolled in the previous 2018 enrollment period that qualify for this exemption under the new provisions may request a refund

Learn more on how to take part in dairy margin coverage here.

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