Farm bill decision-making tool launched for dairy

Tool designed to help dairy producers determine level of coverage for Dairy Margin Coverage program.

April 30, 2019

2 Min Read
Farm bill decision-making tool launched for dairy

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced April 30 the availability of a new web-based tool – developed in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison – to help dairy producers evaluate various scenarios using different coverage levels through the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

The 2018 farm bill authorized DMC, a voluntary risk management program that offers financial 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. It replaces the program previously known as the Margin Protection Program for Dairy. Signup for this U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) program opens June 17.

“With signup for the DMC program just weeks away, we encourage producers to use this new support tool to help make decisions on participation in the program,” Perdue said. “Dairy producers have faced tough challenges over the years, but the DMC program should help producers better weather the ups and downs in the industry.”

The University of Wisconsin-Madison launched the decision support tool in cooperation with FSA, and it was funded through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Office of the Chief Economist. The tool was designed to help producers determine the level of coverage under a variety of conditions that will provide them with the strongest financial safety net. It allows farmers to simplify their coverage level selection by combining operation data and other key variables to calculate coverage needs based on price projections.

Related:Congress urges implementation of dairy farm bill support

The decision tool assists producers with calculating total costs of premiums and administrative fees associated with participation in DMC. It also forecasts payments that will be made during the coverage year.

“The new Dairy Margin Coverage program offers very appealing options for all dairy farmers to reduce their net income risk due to volatility in milk or feed prices,” said Dr. Mark Stephenson, director of dairy policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Higher coverage levels, monthly payments and more flexible production coverage options are especially helpful for the sizable majority of farms who can cover much of their milk production with the new 5 million lb. maximum for Tier 1 premiums. This program deserves the careful consideration of all dairy farmers.”

For more information, access the tool at For DMC signup, eligibility and related program information, visit, or contact the local USDA Service Center. To locate a local FSA office, visit

Related:USDA gears up for farm bill rollout

Subscribe to Our Newsletters
Feedstuffs is the news source for animal agriculture

You May Also Like