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Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross Urges Dairy Producers to Enroll in Margin Protection Program Ahead of Dec. 5 Deadline


Diane Bothfeld
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets


Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross Urges Dairy Producers to Enroll in Margin Protection Program Ahead of Dec. 5 Deadline


Montpelier -- Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross is encouraging all Vermont dairy farmers to enroll in the Margin Protection Dairy Insurance Program (MPP) by Friday, December 5th, 2014.


“Dairy farming in Vermont has many risks, the Margin Protection Program is a means to manage the risk of dropping milk prices and rising feed costs,” said Secretary Ross.


The USDA Margin Protection Dairy Insurance Program provides dairy farmers a risk management tool similar to crop insurance that can insure the margin between milk prices and feed costs.  The funds available after covering feed costs are used by farmers to pay veterinarians, farm labor, energy bills and other farm expenses.


“Milk prices have been strong throughout 2014 but predictions for 2015 show a potential decline of over $8, this insurance program can help farmers prepare for these changes,” said Ross. 


The USDA Margin Protection Program helps dairy producers lock in a set margin of minimum profit to guard against low milk prices and high feed costs. While milk prices this year have approached $25 per hundredweight, projections indicate that milk may drop to $19 or even $16 per hundredweight during 2015. Feed prices appear stable at this time but events like the drought in 2012 can radically affect feed prices in Vermont.  The Margin Protection Program replaced the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program which ended in 2014 with the enactment of the new Farm Bill becoming the main safety net for dairy farmers.


Ross encouraged producers to sign up at their local USDA Farm Services Agency  office as soon as possible, in order to have their production history recorded and complete required paperwork by the Dec. 5 deadline. The cost is the $100 administration fee for the basic coverage and farmers can elect to increase their coverage. Farmers can also contact UVM Extension to discuss options to buy up the insurance coverage to fit their individual farm situation.


“This is the best safety net program available to Vermont’s dairy farmers,” Ross added, “take action this week to reduce your risk.”


For more information contact Diane Bothfeld at or contact the UVM Extension Office at 1-866-622-2990 or visit: