On January 2, 2019

Farmers could benefit from farm bill

Vermont dairy farmers could see much needed relief in the 2018 Farm Bill. With the signing of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, more improvements have been made to the renamed Margin Protection Program, now called the Dairy Margin Coverage program.

“Farmers should look at this new program closely.  The early signs indicate it could provide help to small and medium size dairy farmers in Vermont and the natio,” said Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Sec. Anson Tebbetts.  “There has been significant dairy farm attrition and o-going economic stress in our respective states and this has an impact on our rural economies.  The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 is extremely important for our dairy farmers and our rural economies.”

Tebbetts thanked Vermont’s congressional delegation and USDA’s leadership for their efforts getting this dairy provision into law. Tebbetts wrote USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue  thanking him and asking him to implement the new program as soon as possible.

“We would ask that you work as quickly as possible to write the rules required to implement the Dairy Margin Coverage program since beginning Jan. 1, 2019, there is no risk protection program,” Tebbetts wrote.  “We are hopeful that our dairy farmers would be able to sign up for the Dairy Margin Coverage program by April of 2019. As with the rewrite of the rules for the changes to the Margin Protection Program in 2018, we would ask that the new Dairy Margin Coverage program be retroactive to January 2019 for those dairy farmers that choose to enroll in the program.”

Vermont continues to work with other states and partners on a long term solution that gives farmers a fair and predictable price for their milk.  The Vermont Milk Commission is working on a plan for this outcome to submit to policy makers in Washington.   If farmers have questions about the new Dairy Margin Coverage program, contact the Vermont Farm Services Agency with USDA. FSA will administer the program.  Their office is located in Colchester.

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