On Tuesday afternoon, Governor Phil Scott joined Vermont’s Congressional Delegation and Vermont Agency of Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts to encourage dairy farmers to take a hard look at the revised Margin Protection Program.
“On June 1, farmers in Vermont and across the nation face an important deadline. Farmers could receive financial help if they enroll in the Margin Protection Program (MPP). Vermont is ready to help with financial support for the farmers who sign up,” said Gov. Scott.
The Governor and state legislators worked to get $450,000 to assist Vermont dairy farmers. Support from the state will occur after farmers sign up for the program. By working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) will contact farms that have signed up directly to issue reimbursement checks.
“Any Vermont farm that does not enroll…they’re going to be leaving money on the table,” said U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.
Leahy achieved changes to the MPP program in the Appropriations Bill. Changes include:
- Affordable Buy-up Coverage — Dramatically reduces the premium costs for “Tier 1” enrollment to incentivize small and medium farm to consider higher levels of protection. Eliminates the premiums for $4.50 and $5.00 coverage.
- Allow Flexibility — Provides farmers a chance to immediately take advantage of the revised program. USDA will re-open the election period. Open now!
- Farmer-Friendly Improvements — Calculates potential payments on a monthly basis.
- Target Small and Medium Farms — Adjusts the “Tier 1” threshold that corresponds with substantially lower premium costs, to the first 5 million pounds of production.
- Target Those Most in Need — Waives the $100 administrative fee for underserved producers (limited resource, beginning and minority farmers.)
“We’re just saying, take a look at this, really push the pencil, don’t look at the past look at the future, economists have looked at this and you can really do the math on this, a lot of stuff can be done already and you can see the possibility of return on this,” said Vt. Agency of Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts.
“The people who are farming are our neighbors, they are our friends and they work harder than almost anyone I know. They create jobs, they produce quality agricultural products and they maintain the beauty and iconic landscapes that help define rural Vermont,” said U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
“These farmers deserve to earn a decent price for their milk and to live at a level of dignity and security which they now don’t have,” said Sanders.
The $450,000 secured by the state will be distributed evenly amongst the farms that have signed up by June 1.
WATCH the full press conference: