As Pennsylvania dairy producers consider enrollment in the USDA Farm Bill’s Dairy Market Protection Program (MPP-Dairy) and what level of coverage may be appropriate, the Penn State’s Extension Dairy Team and the Center for Dairy Excellence (CDE) are working together with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to offer information for decision-making. 

The workshops have been underway for several weeks, with another week scheduled, and employees of FSA, through which producers sign up, say those who have attended the programs have a more detailed understanding of the program.

Elizabeth Kotkiewicz, County Executive Director in the Lackawanna County FSA, said, “The meeting sponsored by the Extension Dairy Team and the CDE was the most beneficial educational meeting I have attended regarding MPP-Dairy. The information provided was straight forward, easy to follow, to the point and was a ‘Reader’s Digest’ version of what dairy producers must consider.”  She added that the interactive nature of the questions was particularly helpful to attending producers. 

J. Craig Williams, Tioga County Extension Educator, said, “The first questions producers want to know is ‘How does the program work?  And ‘what level of coverage should I sign up for?’  Producers get to go over the four basic rules of the program. We explain how the margin is calculated and what affects it. The two main websites show how the programs works and producers can compare their past MILC payments with what type of coverage would provide the same coverage as the MILC.” 

He noted that one of the second biggest questions is with regards to the farm production ownership and what happens when someone moves to another farm.  He said the FSA has a detailed and helpful handout that is used in the sessions. The sessions cover the basic rules and program details, offering information on online web pages and decision tools. You can see more at  http://dairy.wisc.edu/MPP/  and/or search “PSU Dairy MPP” 

Upcoming meetings include:

10/27/2014

Armstrong County: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Armstrong Extension Office, 124 Armsdale Road, Kittanning, PA

10/28/2014

Indiana County: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Indiana Extension Office, 827 Water St., Indiana, PA

10/29/2014

Franklin County: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. at Franklin Extension Office, 181 Franklin Farm Ln, Chambersburg, PA

Westmoreland  County: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. at Westmoreland Extension Office, 214 Donohoe Road, Greensburg, PA

Tioga County: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. at Tioga County Fairgrounds, 2258 Charleston Rd, Wellsboro, PA

Lancaster County: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. at Lancaster Farm & Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster, PA

10/30/2014

Adams County: 12 – 2 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. at Adams Extension Office, 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg, PA

Lebanon County: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. at Lebanon Extension Office, 2120 Cornwall Road, Lebanon, PA

Juniata County: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. at Juniata EMS Building, 47 Cjems Ln, Mifflintown, PA

Workshops are free, though pre-registration is requested. Visit http://extension.psu.edu/animals/dairy/courses for more details and to register.