Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dairy News

Farmers Wait for Milk Payments

Washington—Idaho’s billion dollar dairy industry stung by the collapse of milk prices will soon get help according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the U.S.D.A is working to get Milk Income Loss Contract payments out quickly. The program pays dairy farmers when domestic milk prices fall below a certain level.

Milk and other commodity prices started falling in October. That’s put the state’s dairymen in a precarious situation because feed costs are still high while milk prices dropped.

The MILC program pays farmers when milk prices drop below about $17 per hundredweight. Prices vary nationwide.

According to the National Milk Producers Federation, there are new features that dairy farmers need to look out for:

• If your dairy has more than $500,000 in nonfarm adjusted gross income, you are not eligible for payments. Documentation of income will be required. You should visit with your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office about the paperwork needed prior to filing for MILC.

• The cap on milk production has been raised from 2.4 million pounds to 2.98 million pounds per operation per fiscal year.

• A “feed cost adjuster” can raise the $16.94 target for the Class I price in Boston, depending on feed cost.

To estimate your MILC payments, visit the National Milk Producers Federation Web site at http://www.nmpf.org/milk_pricing/milc_payments.

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