Now might be a good time for dairy producers to consider implementing risk management tools found within the new farm bill.
"U.S. dairy producers are facing a cost-price squeeze due to increasingly volatile farm-level milk prices and rising feed costs," said Kim Dillivan, Crops Business Management Field Specialist. "As a result, policy stakeholders developed provisions for the Agricultural Act of 2014 to help dairy farmers manage risk during periods that are economically challenging."
Dillivan explained that until the recent farm bill, USDA surveys showed that dairy producers under-utilize risk management tools such as forward pricing, options and futures. "In this environment, existing federal dairy policy designed to only support product prices fails to provide an adequate safety net for producers."
The Agricultural Act of 2014 repeals dairy programs that focus solely on price support, and replaces them with two new margin insurance programs. The Act also continues several other dairy provisions.
Dairy Programs Repealed in the 2014 Farm Bill
The Dairy Product Price Support Program (DPPSP), the Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP), and the Federal Milk Marketing Order Review Commission were repealed in the Agricultural Act of 2014.
Although also repealed in the new farm bill, the Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC) is available until the new Margin Protection Program for Dairy Producers (MPP) becomes operational. According to the farm bill, the MPP will be implemented no later than September 1, 2014.
"Authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, the DPPSP was a dairy price support program that was generally ineffective because of a relatively low support price," Dilivan said.
He added that the DEIP provided bonuses to dairy exporters allowing them to sell certain dairy products at prices below cost, helping the exporters remain competitive in international markets. The Federal Milk Marketing Order Review Commission had responsibilities that included the review and evaluation of federal milk marketing orders. MILC, another price support program, compensates domestic milk producers should milk prices fall below a certain level.
Dairy Programs Reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill
The Dairy Forward Pricing Program, the Dairy Indemnity Payment Program and the Dairy Promotion and Research Program are reauthorized through 2018.
The Dairy Forward Pricing Program allows dairy producers to participate in forward pricing contracts with handlers of pooled milk.