Tight dairy margins extend USDA support

A dairy farmer says there’s never been another time when margins have been tighter.

Brian Preston milks 1,000 cows with his family in southern Michigan.

“We’ve had a lower price, but we’ve never had a tighter margin and I think profitability has been a real, real challenge all summer long,” he shares.  “We’re hoping for better times, we’re planning for better times, but right now it’s pretty tough on a dairy farm.”

July margins in USDA’s Dairy Margin Coverage program were the lowest since the program was authorized in 2019.  The agency has paid more than $1 billion to about 17,000 operations enrolled this year and payments are forecasted for the remainder of 2023.

Meanwhile, the USDA is providing an additional $5 million to organic dairy farmers impacted by increased costs and volatile markets this year.

The Farm Service Agency’s Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program previously paid $15 million to eligible farmers who enrolled by mid-August. 

The first payment this year was 75 percent of what farmers could receive. USDA says additional assistance is still needed and available funding is able to meet requests.  The payments will be automatic.

Organic farmers can participate in the marketing assistance program as well as other FSA dairy insurance programs.

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