Dairy Farmers to Benefit from Farm Bill

Dairy Farmers to Benefit from Farm Bill

Vermont dairy farmers will benefit from a new program in the Farm Bill, officials say.
EAST MONTPELIER, Vt. - Mark Rodgers grew up in dairy farming. He owns Andersonville Dairy in West Glover, just one of Vermont's nine hundred dairy farms that could benefit from the new Farm Bill.

More specifically, a Margin Protection Program. That guarentees a certain level of proft for farmers.

"You can work hard, you can do your best, you can do everything right, but things can happen that are utterly beyond your control," Congressman Peter Welch said.

That's what happened in 2009. Farmers watched their margin, or profit, shrivel as prices dropped and costs climbed.

"In 2009 we lost $1000 per cow," Rodgers said.

Rodgers hopes to avoid a repeat of that by enrolling in the new program, which is essentially insurance. The lowest level of coverage costs farmers 100-dollars per year, and guarantees margins don't drop below 4-dollars, a profit of just 3-cents per gallon of milk, according to experts at the University of Vermont. But farmers can also opt for even more coverage.

"I'm looking at the $6.50 margin. That's a reasonable investment for me to make on annual basis," Rodgers added.

For Rodgers, that would cost 20-thousand dollars each year.

Officials admit it might be a little cumbersome for some farmers to decide what kind of coverage they should hold, but a lot of it depends on just how large their farm is, and how many cows they have. There'll also be specialists around to help farmers decide what level of coverage is most appropriate.

Those specialists will hold workshops for farmers to ask questions about the program prior to the November 28 enrollment deadline.

Senator Patrick Leahy hopes all dairy farmers do just that.

"It's going to be hard work, but you won't have a boom and bust cycle. If you work hard, you're going to be able to make money from it," he said.

Information Sessions:

Monday October 13- American Legion in St. Albans
Tuesday October 14- American Legion in Middlebury
Wednesday October 15- Holiday Inn in Rutland
Thursday October 16- Fairfield Inn in White River Junction
Friday October 17- East Side Restaurant in Newport
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