WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today said a new dairy risk management program, included in the 2014 Farm Bill and starting up next week, will give Michigan farmers the certainty and tools they need to continue a reliable supply of milk products at the grocery store for consumers. Enrollment for the new dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) will begin Sept. 2 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and offers participating farmers assistance if milk prices fall below profitable margins due to unexpected circumstances beyond their control. Dairy is one of Michigan’s largest agricultural commodities and exports of Michigan dairy products have more than doubled over the last ten years. The MPP was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, which was authored by Sen. Stabenow and signed into law in Michigan earlier this year. “We cannot afford to have our Michigan dairy farmers go bankrupt when there are sudden market swings, which is why we put together this new program,” said Stabenow. “Michigan families need a reliable supply of dairy products at the grocery store, and that means we need Michigan farmers who can keep producing some of the very best dairy products in the United States.” Ken Nobis, President, Michigan Milk Producers Association: “The details of the Margin Protection Program that were released today provide a much needed replacement of an outdated mechanism that failed to address the basic concept of a safety net in today’s global economy. Without Senator Stabenow’s persistent leadership, we wouldn’t be celebrating this welcome change today.” A new, innovative web tool developed in part by Michigan State University will also be launched in conjunction with MPP, to help Michigan dairy producers enroll in the program and make decisions based on their own unique needs and operations. The web tool, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, provides a series of interactive features allowing producers to review historical data as well as future projections to make decisions that make the most sense for them.
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