A new website is up and running to allow dairy farmers to sign up for meetings statewide on the intricacies of the dairy programs in new farm bill. Training for the meetings is provided in part by experts with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
The meetings are part of the college’s efforts to help farmers learn more about the farm bill’s Dairy Margin Protection Program, commonly known as DMPP, and the decisions dairy producers must make by Nov. 28 if they want to participate in the program in 2014 or 2015, said Dianne Shoemaker, an Ohio State University Extension field specialist in dairy economics.
The meetings, which will be held in locations across Ohio, are a joint effort between OSU Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency county offices, Shoemaker said.
Producers can register for the meetings statewide at go.osu.edu/2014dairyfarmbill.
Shoemaker, along with OSU Extension educators and Farm Service Agency county directors will present information on the DMPP during the meetings for dairy producers, she said.
The DMPP is a new national voluntary dairy safety net program. With the passage of the Agricultural Act of 2014, the U.S. federal dairy farm safety net underwent the most comprehensive reform that the program has seen in decades.
USDA launched the DMPP in September and farmers have until Nov. 28 to register to participate in the program in 2014 or 2015, Shoemaker said.
“Farmers have to decide if they want to participate in the program or not,” she said. “If they choose to participate, they then have to decide what level of margin protection they want to purchase and for what percent of their base production.
“This is a major change for dairy farmers.”
The previous risk management program offered through USDA was a price support program, Shoemaker said. But that program ended with the new farm bill, which now focuses its risk management strategy to emphasis margin protection, she said.
“For dairy farmers, the margin calculated by USDA is the difference between the all-milk price and select feeds,” Shoemaker said. “A base level of margin protection of $4 per hundredweight can be purchased for an annual fee of $100 per farm. This is considered to be catastrophic coverage. Higher levels of protection, up to $8 per hundredweight, can also be purchased with premiums based on the level of protection and volume of base production protected.”
Every farmer is going to have to make a decision as to whether or not they will participate in the program, she said.
“But you can’t make a sound decision if you don’t understand how the program works and what it means for your farm under different feed and milk prices,” Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker said farmers who attend one of the statewide information meetings can have access to agriculture and dairy experts to help answer questions in order to make informed decisions about participating in some of the new farm bill programs.
“Participating in one of these meetings will show farmers how to access a decision-making tool and provide an opportunity to learn more about the logistics of signing up for the DMPP program,” she said. “By participating in one of these sessions, a farm should have the background and tools to make a good decision for their farm.”
Additional information about the DMPP, upcoming programs, and online resources is available at http://dairy.osu.edu.