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USDA expedites dairy margin coverage enrollment
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/01/2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the imminent launch of the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program, a crucial safety net for dairy farmers. This decision comes after significant pressure from industry groups like the American Farm Bureau and state legislators, particularly from Wisconsin, which has seen a concerning decline in dairy farms.

The program's delayed launch had posed challenges for many farms. Wisconsin Farm Bureau, with the highest percentage of DMC participants nationwide, actively advocated for its prompt implementation. In response, the USDA has expedited enrollment, opening on February 28th and closing on April 29th. This allows for retroactive payments for January 2024 for eligible farmers.

The urgency stems from recent data revealing a concerning trend: a significant decline in licensed dairy herds across the US between 2018 and 2023. Wisconsin has been particularly impacted, losing over 2,000 herds during this period.

To ease the transition and support farmers, the USDA has implemented several measures:

• Combined production history: Farms participating in Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage (2021-2023) will have their supplemental production history combined with their established history, creating a single adjusted base.

• Extended lock-in contracts: Farms enrolled in multi-year DMC contracts in 2023 will have their lock-in eligibility extended until December 31st, 2024, while maintaining their discounted premium rate.

• Lock-in confirmation/opt-out: Farms with existing lock-in contracts must enroll during the 2024 enrollment period to confirm their participation or opt out for an annual contract.

These measures aim to provide immediate relief and long-term stability for dairy farmers, particularly in critically impacted states like Wisconsin. For more information visit www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/dairy-margin-coverage-program/.


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