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January 28, 2019

USDA To Prioritize Implementing Dairy Portion Of 2018 Farm Bill

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

Last week President Trump and Congress agreed to reopen the government, ending a 34-day shutdown. While it’s only a three-week funding extension, USDA is laser focused on farm bill implementation and the new dairy program is a top priority.

 

“We will immediately begin work on implementation of the farm bill,” USDA spokesman Tim Murtaugh told AgriPulse over the weekend. He says Secretary Purdue is going to “prioritize the dairy program.”

 

This is welcome news for dairy leaders who just last week urged USDA to focus on dairy when the agency gets back to full capacity.

 

“Dairy farmers have just completed a fourth consecutive year of depressed milk prices and are facing an uncertain outlook for 2019. We believe that the significant dairy policy reforms

we worked successfully with Congress to enact in the new farm bill will be critically important to helping farmers better manage difficult periods of low margins,” Jim Mulhern, CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation wrote in a letter to Secretary Purdue on Friday. “With that in mind, we urge you to make signup for the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program a top priority for the agency.”

 

According to Mulhern, the new program gives dairy farmers access to higher coverage levels at affordable premium rates and provides producers with flexibility to use multiple risk management strategies.

 

“We urge you to do everything possible to ensure a farmer-friendly sign-up process providing outreach to not just those producers who signed up for MPP at any point, but also to those producers who did not previously sign up,” Mulhern wrote. “We hope your Department can streamline this process by quickly updating online tools and using prefilled applications to assist farmers, in addition to using multiple means to contact them.”

 

Are you considering enrolling in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program? Let us know! Comment below or email me at alaca@farmjournal.com.

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