Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced today that because of low dairy prices across the country, producers participating in USDA's Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program will begin to receive payments.
President Obama understands that dairy farmers are struggling during these tough economic times, says Vilsack. “Today, as a result of low dairy prices, we are distributing MILC payments to ensure that dairy producers have the financial assistance they need. This action will also stimulate local economies,” he says.
USDA makes MILC payments on a monthly basis when the Boston Class I milk price falls below $16.94 per hundredweight as adjusted for feed cost. USDA determines the per hundredweight payment rate for the applicable month by subtracting the Boston Class I price for that month from the $16.94 MILC payment trigger price, established in the 2008 Farm Bill, as adjusted for feed costs, and multiplying the difference by 45 percent.
The MILC payment trigger price of $16.94 is adjusted upward when the National Average Dairy Feed Ration Cost for a month is greater than $7.35 per cwt. USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service released the data for determining the Average Dairy Feed Ration Cost for the month of February on March 30. Using this information and the formula contained in the 2008 Act, the MILC payment trigger for the month of February has been adjusted to $17.33, for a final MILC payment rate of $1.5132.
Beginning April 1, USDA expects to issue approximately $150 million to dairy producers for milk produced in February.
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service announced the Boston Class I price for the month of March on Feb. 20, and for the month of April on March 20. In both instances, the Boston Class I price was below the MILC payment trigger price of $16.94 per cwt.
USDA expects to issue MILC payments on milk produced in March in early May and MILC payments on milk produced in April in early June, after USDA has adjusted the MILC payment trigger price for feed cost and determined the final payment rate for those months. MILC payments may also be triggered in future months if the MILC payment trigger price is below $16.94 per cwt.
The Farm Service Agency makes payments up to the maximum eligible pounds of milk produced and marketed by each operation per fiscal year. The annual maximum eligible pound limit per dairy operation is 2,985,000 pounds per fiscal year.
For more information, visit your FSA county office or click here.