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Baldwin Asking Senate Colleagues to Improve DMPP
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/17/2018

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is urging her chamber's leadership to update and expand the Dairy Margin Protection Program when they begin drafting the next Agriculture Appropriations bill. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran and Vice Chairman Pat Leahy, the Wisconsin Democrat says the nation's dairy industry needs a better safety net during periods of low milk prices.

"Our family dairy farmers are facing extremely challenging times and Washington has failed to respond," said Baldwin, who is a member of the Senate ag appropriations subcommittee. "It is critical that we update the Dairy Margin Protection Program, which is an important tool for the economic security of dairy farmers. I am hopeful that my Senate colleagues will join me and take action to do right by our farm families and the rural communities they support."

The DMPP program was passed in the 2014 farm bill as a tool for dairy farmers to manage the risks they face from market fluctuations in milk prices and feed costs. The government insurance program makes payments to dairy farmers when the margin between the price of milk and cost of feed falls below a certain level.

Critics of the program claim the DMPP has not benefited dairy farmers much in the past few years since lower feed prices meant that the margin between milk and feed is not wide enough to trigger payments.

"The past few years have been very difficult for dairy farmers, and many have decided to stop milking," Baldwin's letter stated. "Once again, family dairy farmers are facing yet another year of low prices and uncertain markets. Without prompt action, many more may be forced to stop farming."

Baldwin says the program remains an essential tool for dairy farmers, but has fallen short of providing meaningful protection and needs updates to make it more effective.

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