NMPF: All eyes on margin protection implementation

With the new farm bill signed into law, attention has shifted to how USDA will implement the margin insurance program for dairy farmers. The program refocuses the dairy safety net from propping up prices, to protecting margins. In that way, it will help address the volatility of both milk prices and feed costs, which have become a major problem in recent years.

By limiting how much production growth can be covered under margin insurance, the new program will also help address imbalances in supply and demand.

The farm bill requires USDA to officially establish the Margin Protection Program by Sept. 1. NMPF staff held preliminary meetings in February with USDA staff on implementation.

NMPF will be working closely with USDA’s Farm Service Agency staff to ensure implementation is as effective and farmer-friendly as possible. In the meantime, the MILC program remains in effect through the first part of 2014, although milk prices are expected to be high enough so that it won’t generate any payments.

A detailed explanation of all the farm bill dairy provisions is available online. In addition, NMPF is refashioning its Future for Dairy website into a hub for information on the margin insurance program and its implementation.


China top U.S. DDGS importer

China has emerged as the world's top importer of U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), importing nearly 4.5 million metric tons in 2013, valued at roughly $1.4 billion. Recently, China's Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) has officially certified the registration of more U.S. ethanol plants to export DDGS to China.

Under the MOA, the process requires each plant to submit a detailed dossier to China, which then refers the application to the China National Feed Industry Association (CFIA) for review. Once approval is granted, the U.S. ethanol plant is legally registered to export DDGS to China.

For a complete listing of China MOA registered plants that are U.S. Grains Council members, click here.


Cabot Creamery Co-op launches ‘Gratitude Grille’

The farm families who own Cabot Creamery in Vermont are thanking volunteers through its Gratitude Grille, a traveling kitchen that serves complimentary meals – like macaroni & cheese, soups and grilled cheese sandwiches – to community-service-based organizations.

Qualified activities include building or cleaning neighborhoods, community centers, gardens, playgrounds, and beaches; assembling or collect food, toys, and coats during big drives; responding during emergencies and natural disasters; and more.

The truck will be traveling throughout central and northern Florida, March 30-April 12, in support of National Volunteer Month. Volunteer groups can invite the Gratitude Grille to their next volunteer gathering by visit Cabot's website. Additional stops are scheduled for 2014.


RWDCA seeks general manager

The Red and White Dairy Cattle Association (RWDCA) is seeking a highly motivated, qualified individual for the position of general manager. This person will oversee the development of all activities, services, programs and finances pertaining to the RWDCA.

Deadline to apply is March 25. This person must have five years experience and at least a Bachelors degree. This will be a full-time, salary position, based in Clinton, Wis.

For a complete job description, contact Jake Skinner at 717-860-8292 or by email at jakeskinner@embarqmail.com or contact Mike Brown at 801-641-3353 or by email at browndairy@hotmail.com. Submit resumes to Jake Skinner via email, or mail to 11403 Orchard Rd., Mercersburg, PA 17236.