OSU Extension planning meetings to help dairymen assess options.

Two short years ago, in July, we were focused on harvesting drought-stressed corn for silage in many parts of the state.

This year, we anxiously review weather apps hoping to see projections for sun, or at least no rain clouds, for three consecutive days in hopes of making some hay.

What a change a year or two will make.

Another horizon to watch

Additional changes loom on the horizon for both crop and dairy farms as provisions of the 2014 farm bill are implemented.

There are some general “knowns,” and a multitude of “unknowns” as the process moves from the legislation passed this spring through the rule making and implementation stages.

The USDA’s Farm Services Agency is tasked with developing the process and procedures through which the farm bill’s provisions will be implemented.

Circle Sept. 1

For dairy producers, the farm bill indicates that the rules are to be in place by September 1.

On the milk production side, farms will have to decide to participate or not to participate in the Dairy Producer Margin Protection Program (DPMPP). Existing “price support” programs will expire.

If dairy farms choose to participate in the DPMPP, the next decision will be at what level to participate. Specifically, what percent of their base production, and what level of margin protection.

If farms choose not to participate in this program, then they are free to look at other ways of managing price risk including futures and options, livestock gross margin insurance for dairy, or accepting whatever the cash market brings.

Crop side

On the crop side, there will be other decisions facing farm managers. The first decision will concern base acres and yields, and whether a farm wants to adjust their base yields.

The second decision relates to program participation, ARC or PLC.

Still in works

If the details are sketchy here, there are two reasons: as with dairy, rules are being developed now, and my limited understanding of farm bill issues and programs related to crops.

August meetings

To help Ohio’s agriculture community sort through the issues, information, and software tools that will be released later this summer and fall, OSU Extension is developing programs and workshops with partners across Ohio.

The first series of meetings focuses on general farm bill provisions and is a collaboration with Farm Credit Services, Ohio Farm Service Agency, and Farm Bureau. These will be held in August, on the 18th in Wooster, and the 19th in Defiance, and Wilmington.

Contact your local Extension office for more information.

More meetings

To specifically address the Dairy Margin Protection Program, we have planned a multi-pronged approach. Regional workshops focusing on rules and implementation will be held in September, on the 3rd in Mercer County, the 11th in Mahoning County, and the 15th in Wayne County.

The software tools available to assist in decision making will be demonstrated.

Follow-up meetings will be scheduled across Ohio to assist farms with use of these software tools and evaluating participation alternatives for both the crop and dairy programs.

For farms that are not interested in participating in the DPMPP, the Ohio Dairy Producers will be offering meetings with brokers and cooperatives that offer assistance with futures and options as well as LGM-Dairy margin insurance.

There are currently many questions about how these farm bill provisions will operate, and when and how decisions will need to be made. Meanwhile, new information continues to be posted as it becomes available.

Bookmark this site for emerging dairy information: http://dairymarkets.org/.

About the Author

(Dianne Shoemaker is an OSU Extension dairy specialist located at the extension center in Wooster, Ohio.) More Stories by Dianne Shoemaker

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