What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
March 15: Deadline to sign up for the ARC PLC program
March 29: Deadline to sign up for General CRP
April 29: Deadline to sign up for Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC)
May 14: Deadline to complete CRP Management Activities
May 15 - August 1: CRP Primary Nesting Season
May 31: Deadline to apply for a Marketing Assistance Loan (MAL) for 2023 crops

Dairy Producers Can Enroll for 2024 Dairy Margin Coverage Beginning February 28
Starting February 28, dairy producers are now able to enroll for 2024 Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC), an important safety net program offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides producers with price support to help offset milk and feed price differences. This year’s DMC signup begins Feb. 28, 2024, and ends April 29, 2024.

DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. In 2023, Dairy Margin Coverage payments triggered in 11 months including two months, June and July, where the margin fell below the catastrophic level of $4.00 per hundredweight, a first for Dairy Margin Coverage or its predecessor Margin Protection Program.

2024 DMC Coverage and Premium Fees
FSA has revised DMC regulations to extend coverage for calendar year 2024, which is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2024, and to provide an adjustment to the production history for dairy operations with less than 5 million pounds of production. In previous years, smaller dairy operations could establish a supplemental production history and receive Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage.

For 2024 DMC enrollment, dairy operations that established supplemental production history through Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage for coverage years 2021 through 2023, will combine the supplemental production history with established production history for one adjusted base production history. For dairy operations enrolled in 2023 DMC under a multi-year lock-in contract, lock-in eligibility will be extended until Dec. 31, 2024. In addition, dairy operations enrolled in multi-year lock-in contracts are eligible for the discounted DMC premium rate during the 2024 coverage year.

To confirm 2024 DMC lock-in coverage or opt out in favor of an annual contract for 2024, dairy operations having lock-in contracts must enroll during the 2024 DMC enrollment period. DMC offers different levels of coverage, even an option that is free to producers, minus a $100 administrative fee. The administrative fee is waived for dairy producers who are considered limited resource, beginning, socially disadvantaged or a military veteran. To determine the appropriate level of DMC coverage for a specific dairy operation, producers can use the online dairy decision tool.

DMC Payments
DMC payments are calculated using updated feed and premium hay costs, making the program more reflective of actual dairy producer expenses. These updated feed calculations use 100% premium alfalfa hay.

More Information USDA also offers other risk management tools for dairy producers, including the Dairy Revenue Protection (DRP) plan that protects against a decline in milk revenue (yield and price) and the Livestock Gross Margin (LGM) plan, which provides protection against the loss of the market value of milk minus the feed costs. Both DRP and LGM livestock insurance policies are offered through the Risk Management Agency. Producers should contact their local crop insurance agent for more information.

For more information on DMC, visit the DMC webpage or contact the Allamakee County USDA Service Center at 563-568-2148.

ARC / PLC - March 15 Deadline
The deadline to sign up for Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2024 crop year is fast approaching! These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops. Enrollment for the 2024 crop year ends March 15, 2024.

For 2024 Elections & Enrollment, producers can elect coverage and enroll in crop-by-crop ARC-County or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for the 2024 crop year. Although election changes for 2024 are optional, enrollment (signed contract) is required for each year of the program.

If an election is not submitted by the deadline of March 15, 2024, the election defaults to the current election for crops on the farm from the prior crop year.

ARC-CO provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price (Corn=$4.01/Soybeans $9.26).

March is CRP Management Month
All Allamakee County producers with scheduled management activities on CRP in 2024 have been sent packets from FSA with a highlighted map of the area needing management.  This is a requirement for your CRP contract.

There is plenty of time to get your management activity completed this spring. If you are going to complete the activity yourself, that’s great, but make sure you are following an approved NRCS seeding plan (if necessary) and/or have your firebreaks maintained for a spring burn.

NOTE:  If you are going to hire someone to complete your management activity, please make those preparations today. Producers are encouraged to have a “Plan B” in place in case mother nature doesn’t cooperate (Wind and Rain), or a contractor cannot get the job completed. Extensions are discouraged and will not be addressed until all planning options have been exhausted.

Please make the necessary arrangements to get your practice completed before May 14. Absolutely no MCM activities are to be completed during the primary nesting season.

Once your management practice has been completed, please contact FSA as soon as possible to finalize the certification paperwork. Failure to perform scheduled management activities may lead to penalties and/or the termination of your CRP contract and the refund of all payments received to date.