Spanberger Encourages Central Virginia Producers to Sign Up for Dairy Margin Coverage Program Starting Today

The New USDA Program Offers Protection to Dairy Producers against Low Milk Prices

HENRICO, V.A.– U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger is encouraging Central Virginia dairy producers to sign up for the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program, which officially begins taking applications today.

Starting on Monday, June 17, dairy farmers can sign up for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) DMC program at their local Farm Service Agency office. Click here for additional information on the DMC program, which was authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill to help dairy producers survive volatile changes to milk and feed prices.  

“As Central Virginia dairy producers face uncertain commodity prices, market fluctuations, and feed costs, I’m glad to see USDA and Secretary Perdue finally begin the process of strengthening our country’s dairy safety net,” said Spanberger. “Today, I’m encouraging our dairy farmers to take advantage of open signup and to begin making coverage decisions. For our small dairy operators, the program’s retroactive coverage through January is welcome news, and I’m hopeful this assistance will help keep many of the Commonwealth’s family farms financially afloat. As a Member of the House Agriculture Committee, I’ll be closely following implementation of the DMC program—and I’ll keep fighting to give our region’s crop and livestock producers the certainty they need.”

Over the last 10 years, the United States has lost over one-third of licensed dairy farms. Earlier this year, Spanberger and a bipartisan group of her colleagues urged USDA to prioritize swift implementation of the new DMC program, especially as dairy farms continue to close and consolidate in Central Virginia and across the country.

The DMC program provides coverage retroactive to January 1, 2019, with applicable payments following soon after enrollment. At the time of signup, dairy producers can choose between the $4.00 to $9.50 coverage levels. The DMC program replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy.

To assist producers in making coverage elections, USDA has also developed a DMC decision support tool.

BACKGROUND

Since arriving in Congress, Spanberger has continued to advocate for Central Virginia farmers, push to give producers a seat at the decision-making table, and build a strong foundation for the next generation of farmers. In a March 2019 letter to USDA Secretary Perdue, Spanberger and a bipartisan group of her colleagues encouraged Secretary Perdue to expand outreach to dairy farmers and inform them about changes under the 2018 Farm Bill, the new DMC program, and new access to crop insurance. Click here to read the full letter.

In March, Spanberger also sent letters to Central Virginia dairy producers to update them on upcoming changes to the USDA’s dairy margin programs.

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