Sponsored By
Missouri Ruralist logo

Half of Missouri dairies enroll in Dairy Margin CoverageHalf of Missouri dairies enroll in Dairy Margin Coverage

Help for producers dealing with low milk prices is available through the USDA Farm Service Agency.

Mindy Ward

August 29, 2019

3 Min Read
Holstein faces
DAIRY AID: Missouri dairy farmers are taking advantage of the Dairy Margin Coverage offered by USDA. The sign-up deadline is Sept. 20. MIRA OBERMAN/Getty Images

Just over half of Missouri’s dairies already have enrolled in the Dairy Margin Coverage program. Dairy producers have until Sept. 20 to sign up for 2019 coverage.

The program offered through the USDA Farm Service Agency provides protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

By the numbers

The USDA reports 563 dairies in Missouri with a production history on record. Of those, 316 already have enrolled in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program. So far, state dairy producers have received nearly $2.8 million in payments.

Nationally, more than 60% of dairies with established production histories enrolled in the program. The USDA reports 17,000 operations signed up for coverage.

Wisconsin has the most participation in the program with more than 4,832 dairy operations receiving $56 million, followed by Minnesota with 1,865 dairies being paid $20 million.

Rounding out the top five dairy states are New York at $20 million, Pennsylvania with $16 million and Michigan receiving $11 million.

State distribution

In Missouri, dairy cows are located throughout the state, but much of the milk cow concentration is in the southwest and south-central regions. In 2019, the Missouri counties with the largest dairy cow inventories were Barry, Wright, Vernon, Lawrence and Scotland counties. However, some counties were not reported by USDA to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.

Below is a map showing dairy cow inventory developed by the University of Missouri Extension.


STATE MILK COWS: Missouri has several milk cows throughout the state, but the heaviest concentration is in the southwest region.

A safeguard

The Dairy Margin Coverage program payments went to producers in July. It provided coverage retroactive to Jan. 1. The producers who have signed up to date will receive more than $219.7 million in payments for January through June, when the income over feed cost margin was $8.63 per hundredweight, triggering the sixth payment for eligible dairy producers who purchased the $9 and $9.50 levels of coverage under the program.

“We’re encouraged by the number of dairy producers who have signed up for this new program, but we are hopeful that we will get more folks in the door,” Bill Northey, USDA’s under secretary for farm production and conservation, said in a news release. “At this point in the sign-up process, we are well ahead of the number of producers covered at this time last year under the previous safety net program, with more producers enrolling every day.

"As we move into the homestretch, we expect more producers across the country to get coverage through DMC, and our team at FSA is really going above and beyond to make sure we get the word out there. The returns this year to date should speak for themselves.”

In June, when the DMC signup was announced, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said for many smaller dairies, the choice is a “no-brainer” as the retroactive coverage through January already assured them that the 2019 payments will exceed the required premiums.

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like