Sen. Baldwin calls for deadline extension for farmers to enroll in MPP program
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined a bipartisan group of Senators urging Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to extend the June 1 deadline for re-enrollment in the Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP), which provides more cost-effective protections for Wisconsin dairy farmers. The USDA provided similar extensions in 2014 and 2016.
Because many dairy farmers are in the middle of spring planting season, Senator Baldwin and her colleagues, led by Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), are requesting an extension to provide dairy farmers in Wisconsin with the additional time needed to evaluate the MPP program and the changes that were made in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
“We are writing to request that you provide a 30 day extension for re-enrollment in the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for dairy farmers from the current deadline of June 1, 2018,” the Senators wrote. “We understand that farmers are in the middle of spring planting season, many of whom are also dairy farmers. An extension would provide dairy farmers in our states the additional time needed to evaluate the MPP program and the changes that were made in the Bipartisan Budget Act.”
The Senators continued, “Previous extensions have shown evidence that enrollment grows when the sign-up period is extended, and we urge USDA to continue further outreach and assistance in a farmer-friendly way should an extension be granted.”
Dairy farmers are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency to discuss their options and sign up for the program. Farmers can estimate how the tool would work for their operation using an online calculator, available on the USDA website.
In the face of difficult dairy market conditions in Wisconsin and across the country, Senator Baldwin sent a letter to Senate leadership in January urging them to protect the economic security of the nation’s dairy farmers and update and expand the MPP in advance of the Farm Bill to provide better risk management tools for family farmers.
In February, Senator Baldwin announced that she secured more than $1 billion for MPP that includes significant improvements to dairy programs that will give Wisconsin dairy farmers much-needed, immediate relief. Enrollment for the improved MPP opened in April.