WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown – a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee – announced a major improvement to the farm safety net for Ohio’s dairy farmers that would help them recover from tough economic times.
“The current farm safety net is falling short for Ohio dairy farmers who’ve been hard hit by excess production and tough market conditions,” said Brown. “This change would mean better and cheaper coverage for many Ohio dairymen, which will help Ohio’s rural communities and local economies.”
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its fiscal year 2018 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, including significant updates to the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for dairy farmers.
The bill would:
- Substantially reduce premiums for farmers’ first five million pounds of milk, adjusted from the reduced premium cap of four million pounds of milk. This will make MPP more affordable for all farmers and make the safety net work better under current conditions. The higher cap will capture more than 86 percent of Ohio’s dairies – who produce under five million pounds per year – and also help out larger dairies who will still receive reduced premiums on their first five million pounds.
- Lower premiums for participating dairy farmers to encourage more farmers to participate.
- Change the margin calculation from bi-monthly to monthly so it is more responsive to market conditions.
- Waive the administrative fee for underserved farmers including beginning farmers.
Brown is participating in hearings being held in the Senate Agriculture Committee on the 2018 Farm Bill, and was one of the lead negotiators for the last Farm Bill.