Dairy producers may now opt out of MPP-Dairy

By MAA

The USDA Risk Management Agency recently announced that dairy producers can now opt out of the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) for the 2018 coverage year, according to Aaron Gransee of Investors Insurance Services, a division of Investors Community Bank.

“This is an exciting announcement for area dairy farmers as it allows them to opt out of MPP and potentially increase their risk protection,” Gransee said.

MPP-Dairy, administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy policy (LGM-Dairy), administered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA), offer similar risk management protection for dairy producers. Previously, under the Federal Crop Insurance Act, producers were prohibited from participating in both programs at the same time. MPP-Dairy required producers to maintain coverage through 2018, or until the MPP-Dairy program ended or was modified.

On Aug. 31, FSA announced producers can opt out of the MPP-Dairy program for the 2018 crop year. Producers who opt out of MPP-Dairy for the 2018 coverage year will be eligible to purchase LGM-Dairy beginning with the November 2017 sales period, with insurance coverage beginning in January 2018 in accordance with the Commodity Exchange Endorsement for Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle.  This will allow producers to transition from MPP-Dairy to LGM-Dairy without a lapse in coverage and will ensure MPP-Dairy and LGM-Dairy coverage do not overlap.  Producers still may not participate in both MPP-Dairy and LGM-Dairy programs at the same time.

Investors Insurance Services offers a variety of agricultural insurance products for farms of all sizes. The ag insurance specialists at Investors Insurance Services are available to work with farmers on everything from choosing coverage to answering questions about policies and filing a claim.

Deciding between repairing, replacing equipment

By Eric Madsen
For MAA

Machinery and equipment are some of the largest investments you, as a grain farmer, will ever make. What’s more, it’s not a one-and-done-proposition. Keeping equipment in good working order is an ongoing expense. According to ag economist William Edwards, costs related to machinery align with a farm’s profits. How and when equipment is replaced can mean a bottom line difference of thousands of dollars.

It’s always important to scrutinize repairs and replacements. Just because a piece of equipment needs to be repaired, doesn’t mean we automatically send it in to be fixed. It’s important to look back at each individual equipment item on our balance sheet and really ask whether the repair costs have gotten to the point where replacement is justified.

Here are some general considerations:

• Could we adjust our equipment management strategy to become more productive or more efficient at a lower cost?

• Could more work be done on-farm to become more profitable than outsourcing labor or specialized services?

• If we have a large equipment line that has a great deal of debt to run our cropping enterprise, perhaps we need to evaluate outsourcing and/or reducing our equipment line to make the operation more cash efficient.

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Planning for potential business disasters vital

By Dave Coggins
For MAA
Recent news showcased how more than 50 dairy farms were nearly devastated by the Canadian trade policies that forced Grassland Dairy Products to drop them as patrons. While that roller-coaster experience has ended with nearly all of the affected farms finding new processors, it should serve as a wake-up call for every farm owner to plan for the unthinkable.
Most farmers are well-equipped in terms of insuring their business against potential acts of nature. But many are not so prepared for other types of disasters that warrant having a “Plan B” if they want their business to survive.
While it’s human nature to want to avoid the unthinkable, planning for all types of disasters is a crucial part of farming operations.

Continue reading “Planning for potential business disasters vital”

Planning for potential business disasters is vital

By Dave Coggins
For MAA

Recent news showcased how more than 50 dairy farms were nearly devastated by the Canadian trade policies that forced Grassland Dairy Products to drop them as patrons. While that roller-coaster experience has ended with nearly all of the affected farms finding new processors, it should serve as a wake-up call for every farm owner to plan for the unthinkable.

Most farmers are well-equipped in terms of insuring their business against potential acts of nature. But many are not so prepared for other types of disasters that warrant having a “Plan B” if they want their business to survive.

While it’s human nature to want to avoid the unthinkable, planning for all types of disasters is a crucial part of farming operations.

Continue reading “Planning for potential business disasters is vital”

Blueberry growers under intense pressure

By Nikki Kallio
MAA

When Elizabeth White teamed up with the USDA in 1910 to grow blueberry hybrids on her New Jersey farm, it was the beginning of an industry that would eventually have a notable impact on the southwest lakeshore of Michigan.

Growers eventually discovered Michigan’s acidic soil, combined with the moderating effect of the lake on climate, was ideal for blueberry crops. By World War II, the state had a sizable blueberry industry that continued to expand, said Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University Extension small-fruit educator.

In 2014, the state ranked first in acreage of blueberry production. Michigan is consistently one of the top producers of blueberries in the nation, along with Washington and Georgia, according to the USDA.

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Displaced dairies find home for their milk

By MAA
Three processors in Minnesota have stepped up to accept milk from 10 Minnesota farms whose milk buyer gave notice it would no longer take those farms’ milk after April.
The move came as Canada changed its pricing regarding ultra-filtered milk coming from the United States, which caused Canadian buyers to cancel their contracts with U.S. processors. In addition to Minnesota, farmers in Wisconsin and New York have also been affected.
The Minnesota Milk Producers Association worked as a facilitator to raise awareness and connect resources to help producers find a new home for their milk.

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