Sonny Perdue says Dairy Margin Coverage Program will not be reopened


As milk markets struggle during the coronavirus pandemic, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue told AgDay TV he would not reopen the Dairy Margin Coverage program.

In 2020, enrollment in the program was down almost 20 percent. In 2019, more than 23,000 operations (82 percent of those eligible) were enrolled but that dropped sharply to 63 percent enrolled in 2020. The difference is about 65 billion pounds of milk covered.

“We get a lot of requests about reopening the dairy margin coverage program,” Perdue said. “It is essentially an insurance program and the principle of insurance is you have to have it before you need it.”

Perdue went on to say he does not want to incentivize farmers to wait and take out insurance and then call to create an “ad hoc disaster program.”

“Our safety net for dairy farmers is based on a good crop insurance program, which farmers participate in but if we train them that they don’t have to participate in an insurance program, then we’ve defeated that purpose,” he said.

Perdue says dairy farmers will be compensated in the first round of aid payments, which are expected to total about $16 billion across the ag sector. The Trump Administration also said it would be purchasing U.S. meat and milk from producers.