Cow

A Holstein cow soaks up the January sun at Fulper Farms.

A payment has been triggered for USDA’s Dairy Margin Coverage for the first time this year.

The March margin was $9.15 per hundredweight, according to the Farm Service Agency. The payment is the first in seven months.

A payment is projected for every month for the rest of the year. That’s a big change from last July, when some models predicted no payments for 18 months.

Since then, the coronavirus pandemic has closed key dairy customers such as schools and restaurants.

With little benefit initially projected, many dairy farmers passed on Dairy Margin Coverage for 2020, and the National Milk Producers Federation lobbied unsuccessfully to get a new sign-up period after the pandemic had taken hold.

Sign-ups for 2021 coverage begin in July.

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