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MADISON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Wisconsin-Extension will host informational meetings on the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) across Wisconsin in April and May.

MPP-Dairy is an important safety net tool for dairy producers that provide protections from shifting milk and feed prices. The difference between the milk price and the cost of feed needed to produce that milk is the ‘margin’ protected via this program.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 — signed into law in February — includes changes to program, including a new signup period for 2018. 

The informational meetings will cover changes to MPP-Dairy, production history, coverage levels, premiums and the MPP-Dairy Decision Tool. Some of the scheduled meetings will also include an overview of additional USDA programs. All dairy producers are encouraged to attend one of the meetings.

All dairy operations must make new coverage elections for 2018, even if the operation was enrolled during the previous 2018 signup period. Coverage elections made for 2018 will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018. 

All dairy operations interested in MPP-Dairy coverage must sign up during the enrollment period and submit, to USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) form CCC-782 to enroll.  Dairy operations may still “opt out” by not submitting a form. 

The enrollment period runs from April 9, 2018 to June 1, 2018. 

The changes made to the program include significantly reduced premiums and increased milk coverage in Tier 1, as well as an increase in payment calculation periods from 6 to 12. 

The changes have made Tier 1 participation relatively rewarding for eligible farms. Tier 1 now covers up to 5 million pounds of historical milk production, with farms being able to insure the margin on 90 percent of their production through MPP.

Many meetings are being held in conjunction with UW-Extension and Dr. Mark Stephenson, Director of the UW Center for Dairy Profitability.   

Dairy producers can also access a wide range of information on the web to help them make this decision. 

One of the sources of information is the Dairy Markets and Policy website through the University of Wisconsin at dairymarkets.org/MPP/ 

Also, a current listing of other MPP informational sessions within Wisconsin can be found at fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Wisconsin/state-events/index. Meetings are still being scheduled. Additional meetings are being added to the website. 

The meetings are free and open to all producers. Persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in this meeting should contact the number listed next to the meeting information or call the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

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