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April 3, 2018
Press Release

(Norwich, CT) —Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that the USDA will be reopening enrollment for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP) that will allow dairy farmers across the country and in eastern Connecticut to reassess their safety net coverage under the MPP. These changes were authorized under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 passed in February. Courtney led a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue asking him to move swiftly to begin re-enrollment and to ensure that new coverage will be retroactive to January 1, 2018.

“As we continue to experience declining milk prices, dairy farmers in Connecticut, where energy and feed costs are typically greater, have been struggling with tight margins for years,” Courtney said. “This re-enrollment period will allow Connecticut dairy farmers to evaluate if lower Tier 1 premiums, retroactive coverage, and the new payment schedule work for their operations. While this is certainly not a cure-all to the continued downward pressure on milk prices and the financial burdens faced by this industry, I am hopeful that the USDA and Congress will continue to work on meaningful dairy industry reforms both administratively and in the upcoming Farm Bill.”

Through the USDA Farm Service Agency, the modified MPP for dairy will provide insurance payments when the dairy margin (the difference between milk prices and feed costs) drops below a farmer’s selected coverage level each month. Farmers may purchase MPP insurance from the $4 margin up to an $8 margin. For the first five million pounds of production, premiums for coverage have been drastically reduced or eliminated depending on the margin. The new enrollment period will run from April 9, 2018 to June 1, 2018.

Additional information on MPP is available on  the USDA website. Connecticut dairy farmers are encouraged to contact their FSA County Office for additional information.