Minnesota dairy farmers will see rebate payments for the federal Dairy Margin Coverage program if they sign up for the five-year program due to lobbying efforts by the Minnesota Milk Producers Association this legislative session.
Two Minnesota legislative conference committees worked to secure $8 million in payments, which would reflect an average of about $3,000 per farm, minimum, according to MMPA.
Dave Buck, MMPA president, thanked committee chairs Rep. Jeanne Poppe, Sen. Torrey Westrom, Rep. Tim Mahoney and Sen. Eric Pratt for their work on the financial aid package for dairy farmers.
“We are so glad to see this is meaningful aid to help dairy farmers position for their future recovery,” Buck said in a news release.
Gov. Tim Walz was expected to sign the bill into law.
The state aid is paired to the new federal Dairy Margin Coverage program. Sign-up for that program begins Monday, June 17, and goes through September 20.
Dairy farmers and their processors, as well as the state’s USDA FSA offices, are receiving instructions on how to apply should they meet the requirements outlined in the law. Those requirements include producing fewer than 16 million pounds of milk in a year (around 750 cows), limiting equal payments up to 5 million pounds of milk per farm and a limit of $9,000 per farm.
“On a farm-by-farm basis, this will be a little bit of monetary aid for dairy farmers, but it will be a great mental reminder to dairy farmers that the state of Minnesota supports our farmers,” says Garrett Luthens, Hutchinson, Minnesota Milk policy chair. “We hope it allows Minnesota to have one of the top Dairy Margin Coverage sign-up rates in the country and encourages farms to think long term about their operations.”
MMPA is working with the respective Minnesota and U.S. departments of agriculture, as well as dairy processors, to ensure orderly and fast processing. While the payments are one of the primary accomplishments of the 2019 session for dairy farmers, MMPA also supported lowering agricultural property taxes covered in referendums to 30% over four years in the Ag2School credit, Section 179 conformity with 80% add back, continuation of the Minnesota Dairy Initiatives, Livestock Investment Grants, Dairy Business Planning Grants and other items, according to the news release.