The Congresswoman is the Only Virginian on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — After hearing concerns about the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program directly from Virginia dairy producers, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger helped lead the introduction of the Dairy Farm Resiliency Act to strengthen the safety net for Virginia dairy farmers during times of high input costs and low consumer prices.
DMC is a federal insurance program that protects dairy farmers during volatile times — particularly when the cost of feed is high, but when revenue also falls due to low milk prices. Since its creation in the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC has received positive feedback — but the program needs improvements focused on assisting small and medium-sized dairy farms. Namely, the level of production that farmers can cover under the program is still based on data from before 2014. This outdated information poses a serious risk for local farms that have grown since then and now outproduce what their DMC plan covers. This gap sometimes leaves millions of pounds of milk uninsured and farmers vulnerable to devastating financial losses.
The Dairy Farm Resiliency Act would require the DMC production level be updated every five years to make sure dairy farmers are adequately insured for their milk production. The bill also allows medium-sized dairy producers to insure more of their milk.
“Input costs have skyrocketed over the last decade, but the Dairy Margin Coverage program hasn’t kept up with these changes. Virginia’s dairy producers — many of whom have smaller herds — have raised these concerns directly to me,” said Spanberger. “That’s why I’m glad to lead bipartisan legislation to fix this very solvable issue and eliminate some headaches for our dairy farmers. When production costs go up while prices go down, producers of all sizes need the security of a strong farm safety net.”
Spanberger’s bipartisan bill is endorsed by the Virginia Farm Bureau and Virginia State Dairymen’s Association.
“Dairy farmers in Virginia, and across the country, continue to face market challenges, high input costs, and elevated levels of risk beyond their control. The DMC program provides a crucial safety net for dairy farmers, and the Dairy Farm Resiliency Act will ensure this program not only keeps pace with a changing industry, but also ensures dairy farmers who otherwise couldn’t afford to participate in the federal DMC program now have access to Tier 1 margin coverage. We thank Rep. Spanberger for her leadership on this bill,” said Wayne F. Pryor, President, Virginia Farm Bureau.
“The Dairy Margin Coverage program has been pivotal for Virginia’s dairy farm families. The increased economic volatility over the past few years has highlighted the need for effective risk management programs. This bipartisan bill will modernize the DMC program to provide increased resiliency for dairy farmers nationwide. We thank Rep. Spanberger for her commitment to this vital program and for empowering our farmers to thrive amidst times of economic uncertainty,” said Eric Paulson, Executive Secretary, Virginia State Dairymen’s Association.
The bipartisan Dairy Farm Resiliency Act addresses issues raised to Spanberger during her 2023 Farm Bill Summit held in Caroline County. Spanberger is the only Virginian on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.
Spanberger introduced the Dairy Farm Resiliency Act alongside U.S. Representatives Marc Molinaro (R-NY-19), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-07), and Derrick Van Orden (R-WI-03).