Western United Dairymen (WUD) will host a series of informational workshops on the new Margin Protection Program for Dairy, which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law earlier this year. There will be 12 workshops held throughout August  and September throughout the WUD membership areas. The first workshop is set for Aug. 11 in Orland.

The workshops are open to anyone interested: WUD members, nonmembers, their bankers and CPAs as well as allied industry members.

“This is a tool that will be available to all U.S. dairy producers,” said WUD President Tm Barcellos. “WUD wants to ensure California dairymen are comfortable enough in understanding the program details and how it can affect their operation to make the participation decision that is best for them.”

Participation in the Margin Protection Program is voluntary. For those who choose to enroll, it should help prevent the type of catastrophic losses of equity that distressed so many dairy producers in 2009. The risk management program will help address margin volatility by targeting combinations of low milk prices and high feed costs. But as with any risk management tool, understanding the nuts and bolts is crucial to the program’s efficacy.

The workshops will cover how the program works; how the program would have performed in previous years; what this means for California dairy producers; pros and cons of the program; available resources to producers and a question and answer period.

The workshop schedule is:

• Aug. 11: Orland, Glenn County Farm Bureau, 10 a.m.-noon

• Aug. 12: Hanford, Farm Service Agency, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

• Aug. 12: Tulare, UCCE, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

• Aug. 14: Stockton, Cabral Center, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

• Aug. 18: Modesto, Ag Center, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

• Aug. 19: Merced County, location to be determined, 1:30–3:30 p.m.

• Aug. 21: Ontario, Doubletree, 10 a.m.-noon

• Aug. 26: Riverdale, Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

• Aug. 26: Fresno, Fresno County Farm Bureau, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

• Aug. 27: Bakersfield, UCCE , 10 a.m.-noon

• Sept. 2: Ferndale, UCCE, 1-3 p.m.

• Sept. 3: Petaluma, Two Rock Fire Hall, 9: 30-11:30 a.m.