The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds dairy producers that the deadline to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program for 2019 is Sept. 20.

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, the program offers reasonably priced protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

“Over 19,100 operations have signed up for DMC since the new program opened enrollment on June 17,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “DMC is a great risk management tool that protects against narrowing margins caused by down turns in the market and increased feed costs. I encourage farmers who have not yet enrolled to sign up as soon as possible.”

As the 2019 enrollment period draws to a close, FSA estimates over $257.7 million in payments to producers who are currently registered. Also, nearly half of the producers are taking advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in for five years of margin protection coverage. FSA has launched a new web visualization of the DMC data, which is available here.

Margin payments have triggered for each month from January through July. Dairy producers who elect higher coverage levels could be eligible for payments for all seven months. Under certain levels, the amount paid to dairy farmers will exceed the cost of the premium.

For example, a dairy operation that chooses to enroll for 2019 an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) and elects the $9.50 coverage level on 95 percent of production will pay $4,275 in total premium payments for all of 2019 and receive $15,437.50 in DMC payments for all margin payments announced to date. Additional payments will be made if calculated margins remain below the $9.50/cwt level for any remaining months of 2019.

For 2020, dairy producers can sign up for coverage under DMC beginning Oct. 7 through Dec. 13, 2019. At the time of signup, dairy producers can choose between the $4.00 to $9.50 coverage levels.