Washington, D.C. – Last week, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) voted in support of the Bipartisan Budget Act, critical legislation to set spending priorities for the next two years. Included in this package were several reforms that will benefit North Country Dairy farmers.

“I was pleased to support these reforms that will help small dairy farmers across our district,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “When I travel the district speaking with North Country farmers, one of the most frequent concerns I hear about is with the flawed Margin Protection Program and how it gives our dairy producers very little return on their investment. These reforms will strengthen this program for our North Country dairy producers. As we begin working on the next Farm Bill, I will continue to strongly advocate for the needs of our farmers.”

Agriculture program reforms in the Bipartisan Budget Act include:

Margin Protection Program:

  • Raising the catastrophic coverage level from $4.00 to $5.00 for the first tier of covered production for all dairy farmers.
  • Adjusting the first tier of covered production to include every dairy farmer’s first five million pounds of annual milk production instead of four million pounds, in response to growth across the country.
  • Reducing premium rates, effective immediately, for every producer’s first five million pounds of production, to better enable dairy farmers to afford higher levels of coverage that will provide more useful protection against low margins.
  • Modifying the margin calculation to a monthly (from bi-monthly) basis, to make the program more accurate and responsive to producers in down months.
  • Waiving the annual $100 administrative fees for underserved farmers.
  • Directing USDA to immediately reopen the program signup for 2018.

Additional reforms:

  • The agreement removed the $20 million annual cap on all livestock insurance, including the Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy program. This will allow USDA more flexibility to develop additional risk management tools for dairy producers that can complement MPP.