USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue laid out a tentative timeline for implementation of the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program before a recent House Ag Committee meeting. Dairy farmers enrolling in the program will likely see the first indemnity payments in early July.
Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

Approved in the 2018 Farm Bill, the DMC replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy), which expired at the end of 2018. Final USDA details regarding DMC were delayed during the 35-day government shutdown, and the program still requires a review from the Office of Management and Budget.

The entire recording of the House Ag Committee hearing can be found here. Perdue’s discussion on the dairy program timeline begins at about minute 58:30.

According to the projected timeline, the USDA is expected to make an online DMC calculator available by mid-April, giving dairy farmers interested in participating in the program a tool to determine premium costs.

Past participants of MPP-Dairy who are eligible for premium refunds should see payments by the end of April.


Sign-up for DMC could start on June 17, with DMC payments starting shortly after July 4. DMC payments will be made retroactive to Jan. 1, so that means participating dairy farmers could see substantial payments. (Read: Dairy Margin Coverage program participation should pay off early for many producers.)

In his comments, House Ag Committee Chairman Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) urged Perdue to implement the DMC program quickly, before more dairy farmers decide to exit dairying.

“When it comes to dairy, I’m worried that folks are so soured on the old program that they’ll decide to hang it up before they give the new dairy provisions in this bill a chance,” Peterson said. “That’s a mistake, because the new Dairy Margin Coverage is specifically designed to give those smaller and medium-sized dairies the safety net they need. We need them to know that this program will help. But they’re snakebit, and it’s going to take persistent outreach to get them on board.”  end mark

Dave Natzke