September 1, 2017

It's Free to Opt Out of MPP

 |  By: Mike Opperman

Producers enrolled in the Margin Protection Program (MPP) can opt out of 2018 at no charge, according to a USDA release.  

“Secretary Perdue is using his authority to allow producers to withdraw from the MPP Dairy Program and not pay the annual administrative fee for 2018,” says Rob Johansson, USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “The decision is in response to requests by the dairy industry and a number of MPP program participants.” 

Farm organizations are applauding the move by the Secretary to provide an opt-out option for enrolled producers.

Today’s announcement to allow farmers to opt out of the program in 2018 is a welcome development, in that it acknowledges the widespread dissatisfaction among farmers enrolled in the program,” says Jim Mulhern, CEO and president of the National Milk Producers Federation. “Simply put, the way the program was enacted in the 2014 Farm Bill, it does not meet the needs of America’s dairy farmers today, and declining participation levels amply illustrate farmers’ disenchantment with the MPP.”

Mulhern points out that farmers who choose to opt out of the MPP will then be able to enroll in the Livestock Gross Margin program for 2018.

“The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased by today’s announcement by the Agriculture Department to allow dairy farmers to exit the Margin Protection Program for dairy producers,” says Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation. “Dairy farmers need access to effective risk management tools. Farm Bureau and our grassroots members look forward to working with USDA and Congress to enhance the dairy safety net.”

To opt out, a producer should not sign up during the annual registration period. By opting out, a producer would not receive any MPP-Dairy benefits if payments are triggered for 2018. The decision would be for 2018 only and is not retroactive. 

For producers who do want to enroll in MPP coverage for 2018, today is the day to begin enrollment, which ends on Dec. 15, 2017. Participating farmers will remain in the program through Dec. 31, 2018, and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee for 2018 coverage. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level from the previous coverage year during open enrollment. 

Dairy operations enrolling in the program must meet conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin Dairy Insurance Program. Producers can mail the appropriate form to the producer’s administrative county FSA office, along with applicable fees, without necessitating a trip to the local FSA office. If electing higher coverage for 2018, producers can either pay the premium in full at the time of enrollment or pay 100% of the premium by Sept. 1, 2018. Premium fees may be paid directly to FSA or producers can work with their milk handlers to remit premiums on their behalf. 

USDA has a web tool,, to help producers determine the level of coverage under the MPP-Dairy that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. For more information, visit FSA online at or stop by a local FSA office to learn more.