Fall Fly-In is Almost Here! Plus: Opt-Out Option Dairy Margin Protection

Fall Fly-In is Almost Here! Plus: Opt-Out Option Dairy Margin Protection

Fall Fly-In is Almost Here! Plus: Opt-Out Option Dairy Margin Protection
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NFU E-News
Issue 339 ~ September 7, 2017
Fall Fly-In is Almost Here! Plus: Opt-Out Option Dairy Margin Protection

Opt-Out Option for 2018 Dairy Margin Protection Program

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that dairy producers would be able to opt out of the Dairy Margin Protection Program (DMPP) for 2018.
DMPP, which replaced the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program, was implemented in 2014. For a $100 administrative fee, participating producers are provided catastrophic coverage when the national dairy production margin, the difference between the all-milk price and average feed costs, is less than $4 per hundredweight. For a premium, producers can also purchase various levels of “buy-up coverage,” which offers payments when margins fall between $4 and $8 per hundredweight.
Though the program is voluntary, producers who enrolled when it was introduced in 2014 were expected to re-enroll every year through 2018. Though they were able to choose different levels of buy-up coverage each year, purchasing catastrophic coverage was required.
National Farmers Union was initially optimistic about the program, particularly the flexibility it gave dairy producers to select coverage levels best for their operations. Dairy farmers were optimistic as well – more than 50% of U.S. dairy farms signed up for some level of coverage. However, in the subsequent years, it became clear that the program was not performing as expected. Although milk prices have remained significantly below the cost of production, payments have only been allocated to producers opting in to the highest levels of coverage. In response, NFU’s Board of Directors released a resolution calling on legislators to provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to provide direct assistance to struggling producers, and to refund dairy DMPP premiums.
Producers who wish to opt-out of DMPP next year can do so by simply not signing up during the registration period. Those opting out would not receive any MPP-Dairy benefits if payments are triggered for 2018.
Fall Fly-In is Almost Here! Plus: Opt-Out Option Dairy Margin Protection

RFS Creates Jobs, Bolsters Rural Communities, Strengthens Energy Independence, & Protects the Environment

For the past decade, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been a boon to American-grown renewable energy development, thereby expanding markets for family farmers, creating jobs in rural communities, shoring up American energy independence, and cleaning up the environment.
The program sets a minimum volume of renewable fuel to “replace or reduce the quantity of petroleum-based transportation fuel.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines volume obligations for four types of renewable fuel categories: biomass-based diesel, cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel.
In November, the EPA will issue new renewable fuel volume obligations under RFS. Given the law’s significant benefits, NFU President Roger Johnson last week submitted public comments urging the agency to issue volume obligations that expand markets for higher blends of ethanol and advanced biofuels.
In early July, the EPA released the Trump Administration’s first proposed set of volume obligations, which maintained the conventional biofuel amount at 15 billion gallons, but lowered obligations for advanced biofuels, ultimately falling 7 billion gallons short of levels prescribed by Congress in the RFS statute. In his comments, Johnson called on the EPA to improve on July’s proposal, emphasizing the importance of increasing use of higher ethanol blends to preserve the integrity of the program.
Read more about RFS and NFU’s public comments in the release.
Fall Fly-In is Almost Here! Plus: Opt-Out Option Dairy Margin Protection
Greg Ibach, nominee for Under Secretary for Marketing Programs.

Trump Nominates Ibach, Northey, & Vaden for Key USDA Positions

Last week, President Donald Trump announced his nominees for three key leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He named Stephen Vaden as USDA’s General Counsel, Greg Ibach as Under Secretary for Marketing Programs, and Bill Northey as Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation.
Stephen Vaden, an attorney hailing from Yale, has been at USDA as a Senior Advisor to the Office of General Counsel and then as Acting General Counsel since March. He also served two D.C. law firms and clerked for two judges. If confirmed as Chief Counsel for the USDA, Vaden would provide legal services for the agency’s programs, operations, and activities.
Greg Ibach is the current agricultural director of Nebraska and has previously worked as president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. He also spent six years working for Farm Credit Services and operates a cattle and grain operation with his family in Nebraska. Pending confirmation, Ibach will lead USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).
Fall Fly-In is Almost Here! Plus: Opt-Out Option Dairy Margin Protection
Bill Northey, nominee for Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation.

Bill Northey has been Iowa’s secretary of agriculture since 2006. In the past, Northey has also served as president of the National Corn Growers Association and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). As Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, Northey would head USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Risk Management Agency (RMA).

Confirmation hearings for all three nominees have not yet been scheduled. President Trump’s pick for USDA’s chief scientist, Sam Clovis, is also awaiting his confirmation hearing.
Fall Fly-In is Almost Here! Plus: Opt-Out Option Dairy Margin Protection
Fall Fly-In is Just Around the Corner!
Next week, about 320 Farmers Union members from across the country will arrive in D.C. for the 2017 Fall Legislative Fly-In.
From September 11-13, attendees will hear from U.S. Department of Agriculture officials about current events, opportunities and other work the department is doing on behalf of farmers. They will also receive briefings from U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Agriculture leadership and staff. NFU also honors members of Congress with one of its highest honors, The Golden Triangle Award.
The most important agenda item of the fly-in, however, are the meetings on Capitol Hill. Teams of Farmers Union members will stop by the office of every member of Congress. Grassroots efforts at their finest, Farmers Union members will highlight the key priorities for the organization, struggles they are facing, and goals for future legislation and the next farm bill. This year, members will focus on the farm safety net, access to health care, and renewable energy.
Keep up with all things Fly-In on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #NFUFlyIn17. For more information about future fly-in activities, please contact your state/regional Farmers Union office. We’ve also put together a Fly-In app, which includes an agenda, maps, local dining options, speaker bios, and more! Download it here.
Fall Fly-In is Almost Here! Plus: Opt-Out Option Dairy Margin Protection

Share What You Know About Food Safety!

Calling all produce growers, farmers, and food hubs: how can we help you with food safety? The Local Food Safety Collaborative wants to know. Take their survey here, and be entered to win one of twenty $100 gift cards.
Your responses to this survey will help LFSC enhance food safety knowledge and support local farmers and processors to comply with applicable Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations.
Read more in the NFU release.

Apply for a Value-Added Producer Grant

The Rural Business Cooperative Agency is accepting applications for the Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG), for which $18 million is currently available.
VAPG provides key financial assistance to help producers generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, increase income, and improve their operations’ resilience.
Applications for VAPG are due by January 31, 2018. Learn more about the program here and learn how to apply here.
New on the NFU Blog
Fall Fly-In is Almost Here! Plus: Opt-Out Option Dairy Margin Protection

New on the Climate Column: Cover Crops & Crop Insurance

When you think about on-farm sustainability, the first thing that comes to mind might be conservation practices like no-till or forage management.
But farmers can also cut greenhouse gas emissions in more traditional ways. Energy efficiency can play just as important a role as conservation practices in farm sustainability. Simple steps, like maintaining machinery and replacing lightbulbs, can add up to huge energy and cost savings.
Read more about how energy efficiency can mitigate climate change on the on the NFU Climate Column. You can also join the NFU Climate Leaders Facebook group for more on the conversation!
NFU in the News
USDA sees modest increase in farm revenue, but hard times persist
Bill Tomson – Agri-Pulse
North Dakotans to emphasize farm bill on Capitol Hill
Bismarck Tribune Staff – The Bismarck Tribune
Does your station offer E-15?

Brian Todd – Agrinews

Minnesota Farmers Union members traveling to Washington to be a voice for family farmers
Mary Phipps – The Kenyon Leader
Panelists discuss the future of ethanol during state fair event
Tri-state Livestock News
Farm and biofuels groups urge EPA to comply with federal court decision
AgNet West
Chasing the flavor
Tom Parker – High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal
U.S. farm income noses upward after three years of declines
Chuck Abbott – Successful Farming
Fall Fly-In is Almost Here! Plus: Opt-Out Option Dairy Margin Protection
Member Benefit Highlight: Small Farm Central
Small Farm Central provides technology solutions to support CSA member management, online sales, website development, and marketing tools. NFU members receive a 10% discount for website services, the CSA Member Assembler program and FarmFan Services.
Visit nfu.org/join to become a member and start saving today.

Visit nfu.org/benefits for a complete listing of all NFU membership benefits.

Call a Doctor 24/7 with Telemedicine
National Farmers Union and Sprint have teamed up to bring you discounted cell service!
The best value in wireless just got even better. As an NFU member you are now eligible for savings up to 15% off of your monthly bill and up to 20% off select Sprint products
when purchased through a Sprint retailer. Both new and current Sprint users can take advantage of these terrific savings.
Visit Sprint and use the “upload” option to upload your membership card and start saving!
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Fall Fly-In is Almost Here! Plus: Opt-Out Option Dairy Margin Protection



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