Dairy leaders ask to reopen DMC enrollment
The blow dealt by COVID-19 to dairy prices has some asking to reopen enrollment for the Dairy Margin Coverage program.
Alan Bjerga with National Milk Producers says it makes sense. “The coronavirus is not something that was on anyone’s radar. This is an unprecedented difficulty for dairy producers and so what you’re seeing is a push to reopen signup for the program.”
Dairy economist Mark Stephenson from the University of Wisconsin agrees. “There have been some requests, movements to perhaps reopen Dairy Margin Coverage signup as a means of getting dollars to dairy producers that are getting hammered by this rather directly, so as a means of backstopping the economy.”
Stephenson says many producers passed on the program before the initial sign-up deadline. “That was a time period, you know, when the market forecasts were expecting those margins to be in the ten dollar range, certainly not expecting any payment at all in 2020. Well, boy, what a change we’ve had since then. Now, we’re looking at those payments probably starting in March.”
Bjerga says one advantage to reopening Dairy Margin Coverage enrollment is the administration of the program is already set up. “The mechanics of getting the signup underway, of understanding how payments can be processed, it’s all very clear and that may be something that may be attractive when you’re trying to get farmers certainty out the door.”
The original 2020 Dairy Margin Coverage sign-ups closed December 13th.