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Leahy, Sanders and Welch Applaud Extension of Deadline to Enroll in Improved Dairy Safety Net Program

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Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Thursday issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended the deadline until Friday, June 22, for dairy farmers to enroll in the improved Margin Protection Program (MPP).

In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: "We are pleased that Secretary Perdue extended the MPP enrollment period until June 22, and we encourage every Vermont dairy farmer to take a close look at whether the improved program can benefit them. This program could be a lifeline for some dairy farms, which have been struggling to survive after several years of very low milk prices."
Earlier this year, as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy secured several improvements to MPP in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, including more accurate and timely payouts, a sharp cut in premium costs by nearly 70 percent for smaller farms, and increasing the basic coverage level to include the first 5 million pounds of milk produced, up from 4 million pounds.

While many Vermont farmers have already enrolled in MPP this year, additional Vermont farms could potentially see immediate financial benefits from enrolling in the program by the end of next week. The USDA announced that as of Tuesday, it has already processed a total of $2.21 million in MPP payments for 331 Vermont farms that had reenrolled early. Retroactive payments have been issued for the start of this year and it is clear that farmers insured at the highest margin will receive payments for February, March, April, and now most likely also for May. More than 90 percent of the farmers previously enrolled in this program will profit from their coverage in 2018.

Producers can use this USDA tool to estimate potential benefits by entering their coverage level and production history:

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