LEWISTON – Gary J. Raymond, county executive director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Franklin, Androscoggin, Sagadahoc and Oxford counties, has announced that dairy producers have until May 17 to sign up for the extended Milk Income Loss Contract program.

“From Oct. 1, 2005, through Aug. 31, 2007, a dairy operation’s monthly payment will equal the milk quantity sold in that month multiplied by 34 percent of the difference between $16.94 per hundredweight and that month’s domestic class I milk price,” said Raymond. “The 2002 Farm Bill originally set the payment rate factor at 45 percent.”

Program payments will begin following sign up. Participating, dairy operations must select the month they want to start receiving payments for eligible production. Producers may retroactively select any month beginning December 2005 through May 2006 for sign up before May 17.

Sign-up will continue after May 17, throughout the duration of the program. However, after that, producers will not have the option to select a retroactive month for payment for which the payment rate has already been announced.

“FSA will make payments on an operation-by-operation basis, up to a maximum of 2.4 million pounds of milk produced and marketed by the dairy operation per fiscal year,” Raymond said.

Eligible dairy producers are those who commercially produce milk in the United States. To receive program approval, producers must enter into a contract with USDA’s Commodity Credit Corp. to provide monthly marketing data.

Dairy producers can apply for the contract program at local FSA offices. Information regarding the program is available online at www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/psd/.