WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that dairy farms participating in the Margin Protection Program 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.

“This change not only helps to strengthen a family dairy operation, it also helps new dairy farmers get started in the family business, while ensuring that safety net coverage remains available for these growing farms,” said Vilsack. “When children, grandchildren or their spouses become part of a dairy operation that is enrolled in MPP, the production from the dairy cows they bring with them into the business can now be protected. By strengthening the farm safety net, expanding credit options and growing domestic and foreign markets, USDA is committed to helping American farming operations remain successful.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency published a final rule which makes these changes effective April 13. 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 runs from July 1 to Sept. 30. For intergenerational transfers occurring on or after July 1, 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.

Local FSA offices can be found at www.offices.usda.gov.

FMI: www.fsa.usda.gov/dairy.

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