Improvements Made to Margin Protection Program

Vermont dairy farmers could see much needed relief in the 2018 Farm Bill which was signed into law last week in Washington. The 2018 Margin Protection Program provided valuable dollars to our state’s dairy farmers and began to increase the confidence of our farmers in this type of insurance program. With the signing of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, more improvements have been made to the renamed Margin Protection Program, now called the Dairy Margin Coverage program.

Cows Moo in Central Vermont.
Find Framed canvas Giclee’s.
Chaos Casbah. Gifts+. Main & Ludlow VT.

“Farmers should look at this new program closely. The early signs indicate it could provide help to small and medium size dairy farmers in Vermont and the nation,” said Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “There has been significant dairy farm attrition and on-going economic stress in our respective states and this has an impact on our rural economies. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 is extremely important for our dairy farmers and our rural economies.”

Secretary Tebbetts thanked Vermont’s congressional delegation and USDA’s leadership for their efforts getting this dairy provision into law. Tebbetts wrote USDA Secretary Purdue this week thanking him and asking him to implement the new program as soon as possible.

Tebbetts wrote: “We would ask that you work as quickly as possible to write the rules required to implement the Dairy Margin Coverage program since beginning January 1, 2019, there is no risk protection program. We are hopeful that our dairy framers would be able to sign up for the Dairy Margin Coverage program by April of 2019. As with the rewrite of the rules for the changes to the Margin Protection Program in 2018, we would ask that the new Dairy Margin Coverage program be retroactive to January 2019 for those dairy farmers that choose to enroll in the program.”

Vermont continues to work with other states and partners on a long term solution that gives farmers a fair and predictable price for their milk. The Vermont Milk Commission is working on a plan for this outcome to submit to policy makers in Washington. VAAFM is also organizing and hosting an in-depth conference called the 2019 Northern Tier Dairy Summit to develop ideas about the future of the dairy industry in Vermont. More details can be found on the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets website, at

If farmers have questions about the new Dairy Margin Coverage program, please contact the Vermont Farm Services Agency (FSA) with USDA. FSA will administer the program. Their office is located in Colchester at 356 Mountain View Drive # 104, Colchester, and their phone is (802) 658-2803.