More than half of dairy farms sign up for new subsidy program
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2015 - More than half of the nation's dairy farms have signed up for the new Margin Protection Program that was created by the 2014 farm bill to protect producer incomes from spikes in feed costs and collapses in milk prices, the Agriculture Department says.The more than 23,000 enrolled farms have about 59 percent of total U.S. milk production, according to USDA.
Enrollment had been lagging until milk prices slumped and USDA provided two short extensions in the signup period in late 2015.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the enrollment exceeded expectations for the first year of a new program. “When you compare the initial enrollment rate for the Margin Protection Program to the longstanding federal crop insurance program, where participation ranges from 30 percent to 80 percent depending on the crop, it's clear that these outreach efforts made a difference,” he said.