The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has updated its online tools for dairy farmers considering their enrollment options in the second year of the Margin Protection Program, the new federal dairy safety net included in the 2014 farm bill.

A three-month sign-up period for the program, also known as MPP, opened July 1. Producers have until Sept. 30 to enroll for coverage in calendar year 2016. Producers currently covered by MPP in 2015 can elect now to make coverage changes in 2016.

To help producers make decisions, NMPF’s dedicated website,, offers the following materials:

  • A six-page brochure explaining the program and its benefits to dairy farmers
  • A PowerPoint slide deck explaining the program in more detail
  • Four pages of frequently asked questions
  • An Excel spreadsheet with milk and feed prices, and margins, dating back to 2007
  • An interactive calculator allowing farmers to estimate future margins based on their forecasts of feed and milk prices

The Margin Protection Program was designed to insure against the kind of catastrophic losses that many dairy farmers experienced in 2009 and again in 2012. Instead of tying government support to milk prices, MPP allows farmers to protect against the difference between milk prices and feed costs.

Dairy farmers insure their farms on a sliding scale, deciding both how much of their production to cover and the level of margin to protect. The program offers more extensive coverage for low-margin conditions than the previous programs it replaced.


According to the Agriculture Department, more than half of the nation’s 45,000 dairy producers enrolled in the Margin Protection Program during the inaugural sign-up period last fall. The USDA also reported that approximately 80 percent of the nation’s milk supply enrolled in the program. Of the farms in the program, approximately 55 percent elected to pay a premium for coverage above the basic, $4 per hundredweight coverage level.

NMPF was instrumental in MPP’s development and strongly encourages producers to use the program.

“The Margin Protection Program is more flexible, more comprehensive and more equitable than any previous federal dairy safety net,” says Jim Mulhern, NMPF’s president and CEO. “It is risk management for the 21st century, and we strongly encourage farmers to choose a coverage plan that fits their circumstances.” PD

—From National Milk Producers Federation news release