Re-opening Dairy Margin Coverage enrollment draws mixed reactions

With the dairy industry in crisis because of coronavirus market shifts, there have been discussions about re-opening the Dairy Margin Coverage program signups.  Jeff Lyon with FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative says farmers have mixed feelings about that. “Arguments both ways is that people would say hey, everybody had a chance back in 2019 to sign up for the 2020 program and that maybe we shouldn’t allow them to be in there, but I’ve had other members saying who can foresee what the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak would do to our markets.”

Dairy Producer Mitch Bruenig signed up for all five years of DMC last year, and questions if reopening the program is the right thing to do. “People who chose not to sign up for that program, again, that was an indecision-decision, but now when the house is on fire we can buy insurance. I’m not sure that’s really fair to me.”

Mark Stephenson with the University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Profitability tells Brownfield he supports re-opening DMC enrollment. “I think it could be a good idea. This is a most unusual circumstance that we find ourselves in right now. Certainly, (it was) not anticipated. It may stave off some casualties in our industry if we could have something like that.”

Lyon says the Dairy Crisis Plan proposed by National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association would re-open DMC enrollment, but would require participants to stay in the program for the duration of the Farm Bill. 

USDA officials have not yet commented on the Dairy Crisis Plan.

  • I signed up and know I had to pay the full 5 years of insurance premiums while some of my fellows farmers told me I was making a mistake. Now you are going to say oh its okay we*ll bend the rules again jiust like last spring when the grain farmers got paid for preventive planting then got to make money off of cover crop sales. Why are there any rules anyway. I think you should think about what you are doing first.

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