Citing delayed plantings and harvests due to abnormal weather in 2019, the USDA announced Wednesday Michigan producers now have until Dec. 20 to enroll in the 2020 Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program and Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
The deadlines shift from Dec. 13 for DMC and Dec. 6 for MFP.
“In light of the challenging year farmers have had on several fronts — weather, economics, trade, the inability to plant and then harvest crops — we appreciate the administration extending the deadline for sign up for MFP and DMC,” said Ernie Birchmeier, manager of the Center for Commodity Farm and Industry Relations for the Michigan Farm Bureau.
“These two programs are tools in the toolbox that can help to provide risk management opportunities and some financial relief for farmers that qualify,” he continued. “Farmers are encouraged to visit their USDA offices to discuss sign up options.”
DMC, authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, is available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency. The program offers reasonably priced protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. As of Dec. 9, there are 23,229 operations enrolled in DMC with expected payments reaching $310,129, 277. Of that, Michigan farmers are expected to receive $15,485, 972.
MFP aids farmers or ranchers with commodities affected by foreign retaliatory tariffs. The USDA’s doled out about $8.59 billion in payments to producers who applied for MFP in 2018.
With farmers still in the field, the “time to conduct business at the local USDA office is at a premium,” said Bill Northey, USDA undersecretary for farm production and conservation.
“We hope this deadline extension will allow producers the opportunity to participate in these important programs,” he continued in a statement.