The U.S. Department of Agriculture began accepting applications for the Dairy Margin Coverage program on Oct. 13 for 2021 enrollment.

“This year has been a market roller coaster for the dairy industry, and the Dairy Margin Coverage program is a valuable tool dairy producers can use to manage risk,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, during a roundtable at a dairy in Chippewa Falls. “We were excited to roll out this new and improved program through the 2018 Farm Bill, and if you haven’t enrolled in previous years, we highly encourage you to check it out.”

Signup runs through Dec. 11. DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. DMC payments triggered for seven months in 2019 and three months so far in 2020. More than 23,000 operations enrolled in DMC in 2019, and more than 13,000 in 2020.

Updated dairy decision tool

To determine the appropriate level of coverage for a specific dairy operation, producers can use the recently updated online dairy decision tool. The decision tool is designed to assist producers with calculating total premium costs and administrative fees associated with participation in DMC. The tool and an informational video is available at https://dairymarkets.org/dmc.

Improvements to the decision tool, made in cooperation with representatives from the University of Minnesota and UW-Madison, include historical analysis that illustrates what DMC indemnity payments might have been had the program been available over the previous two decades. The analysis indicates that over the course of time, DMC payments made to producers exceed premiums paid. These decision tool enhancements provide a more comprehensive decision support experience for producers considering DMC.

For more information, visit farmers.gov DMC webpage, tinyurl.com/yxznsz98, or contact your local USDA Service Center. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-center-locator.