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In the News:
Dairy farms participating in the Margin Protection Program (MPP) can now update their production history when an eligible family member joins the operation. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, protects participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below levels of protection selected by the applicant.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) published a final rule which makes these changes effective on April 13, 2016. Any dairy operation already enrolled in the Margin Protection Program that had an intergenerational transfer occur will have an opportunity to increase the dairy operations production history during the 2017 registration and annual coverage election period. The next election period begins on July 1, 2016, and ends on Sept. 30, 2016. For intergenerational transfers occurring on or after July 1, 2016, notification must be made to the FSA within 60 days of purchasing the additional cows. Each participating dairy operation is authorized one intergenerational transfer at any time of its choosing until 2018.
For $100 a year, dairy producers can receive basic catastrophic protection that covers 90 percent of milk production at a $4 margin coverage level. For additional premiums, operations can protect 25 to 90 percent of production history with margin coverage levels from $4.50 to $8, in 50 cent increments. Annual enrollment in the program is required in order to receive margin protection. The final rule also provides improved risk protection for dairy farmers that pay premiums to buy-up higher levels of coverage by clarifying that 90 percent of production is covered below the $4 level even if a lower percentage was selected above the $4 margin.
Earlier this year, FSA gave producers the opportunity to pay their premium through additional options including via their milk cooperative or handler. This rule facilitates those options and also clarifies that the catastrophic level protection at $4 will always cover 90 percent of the production history, even if a producer selected a less than a 90 percent percentage for the buy-up coverage.
Assuming current participation, had the Margin Protection Program existed from 2009 to 2014, premiums and fees would have totaled $500 million while providing producers with $2.5 billion in financial assistance, nearly $1 billion more than provided by the old Milk Income Loss Contract program during the same period.
For more information, visit FSA online at www.fsa.usda.gov/dairy
or stop by a local FSA office and ask about the Margin Protection Program. To find a local FSA office in your area, visit http://offices.usda.gov
The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced a commitment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to prioritize $5.6 billion over the next two years within USDA programs and services that serve new and beginning farmers and ranchers. Deputy Secretary Harden also announced a new, tailored web tool designed to connect burgeoning farm entrepreneurs with programs and resources available to help them get started.
The new web tool is available at www.usda.gov/newfarmers
. The site was designed based on feedback from new and beginning farmers and ranchers around the country, who cited unfamiliarity with programs and resources as a challenge to starting and expanding their operations. The site features advice and guidance on everything a new farm business owner needs to know, from writing a business plan, to obtaining a loan to grow their business, to filing taxes as a new small business owner. By answering a series of questions about their operation, farmers can use the site’s Discovery Tool
to build a personalized set of recommendations of USDA programs and services that may meet their needs.
Using the new web tool and other outreach activities, and operating within its existing resources, USDA has set a new goal of increasing beginning farmer and rancher participation by an additional 6.6 percent across key USDA programs, which were established or strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, for a total investment value of approximately $5.6 billion. Programs were targeted for expanded outreach and commitment based on their impact on expanding opportunity for new and beginning farmers and ranchers, including starting or expanding an operation, developing new markets, supporting more effective farming and conservation practices, and having access to relevant training and education opportunities. USDA will provide quarterly updates on its progress towards meeting its goal. A full explanation of the investment targets, benchmarks and outcomes is available at: BFR-Commitment-Factsheet
As the average age of the American farmer now exceeds 58 years, and data shows that almost 10 percent of farmland in the continental United States will change hands in the next five years, we have no time to lose in getting more new farmers and ranchers established. Equally important is encouraging young people
and minorities to pursue careers in industries that support American agriculture. According to an employment outlook report
released by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University, one of the best fields for new college graduates is agriculture. Nearly 60,000 high-skilled agriculture job openings are expected annually in the United States for the next five years, yet only 35,000 graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher in agriculture related fields are expected to be available to fill them. The report also shows that women make up more than half of the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment higher education graduates in the United States. USDA recently released a series of fact sheets
showcasing the impact of women in agriculture nationwide.
Today’s announcement builds on USDA’s ongoing work to engage its resources to inspire a strong next generation of farmers and ranchers by improving access to land and capital; building market opportunities; extending conservation opportunities; offering appropriate risk management tools; and increasing outreach and technical support. To learn more about USDA’s efforts, visit the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Results Page.
There are currently 6 disaster designations which allow eligible affected producers in Delaware the option to apply for new Emergency Loans (EM) or Disaster Set Aside (DSA) on their existing FSA loans:
Contact your local FSA Loan Office
for further information and application deadlines:
farm loan programs are a valuable resource to establish, improve, expand, transition, and strengthen your farm or ranch. For more information on Farm Loans programs
contact your local FSA Office
Delaware State Farm Service Agency Office
1221 College Park Drive, Suite 201
Dover, DE 19904
- Dale R. Scuse, Chairperson