The U.S. Department of Agriculture begins accepting applications for its dairy subsidy program for 2021 on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Signup for Dairy Margin Coverage runs through Dec. 11. This voluntary program pays dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

Conditions triggered these payments seven months in 2019 and three months so far in 2020. More than 23,000 operations enrolled in the program in 2019, and more than 13,000 in 2020.

Updated dairy decision tool

The USDA says an updated online tool will make it easier for dairies to determine the level of coverage they need. The decision tool is designed to calculate total premium costs and administrative fees. An informational video is available, too.

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An analysis has determined that payments through this program exceed the premiums dairies pay.

Additional support

In addition to the Dairy Margin Coverage program, USDA says it has sent billions of dollars to dairy producers through insurance, disaster assistance, and conservation programs.

Most recently, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 1 provided $1.75 billion in direct relief to dairy producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19 in early 2020.

Now, signup is underway for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2, which provides another round of assistance for dairy producers and many other eligible producers.

For more information, contact the USDA Service Center in Alexandria, 320-763-3191, ext. 112.