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Friday is the final day to sign up for Dairy Margin Coverage program

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 7:08 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - This Friday, December 11th, is an important day for farmers. Unless the USDA grants a request from the National Milk Producers Federation for an extension, Friday will be the last day dairy farmers can sign up for the Dairy Margin Coverage program for 2021. National Milk leaders say dairy farmers and USDA staff need the extension until the end of January so they can have more time to communicate and get a better feel for the markets as the Coronavirus pandemic hangs on. Last week the USDA gave a one month extension to fishermen applying for their Seafood Trade Relief program.

China probably won’t live up to their commitment this year to buy just over $36 billion worth of agricultural products from the U.S. under the terms of the Phase One Trade deal between the U.S. and China—but they’ll still buy a lot. In October they bought almost $5 billion of ag products from us—including big orders for soybeans, corn, pork and cotton. And while their total purchases will not reach the deal’s goals, the Chinese are expected to buy more than they did back in 2017 when they spent almost $21 billion for U.S. farm products.

The dairy issue is expected to the first topic to come under enforcement actions under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement. U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer said that’s because the U.S. isn’t satisfied how Canada is living up to the deal regarding their dairy quotas.

There’s a lot of butter in the country. In October, U.S. butter makers churned out 165 million pounds—the highest October production in more than a century. At the end of the month, butter stocks were 28% bigger than they were a year ago and the highest for the month since back in 1993. And stocks are expected to remain high until the pandemic ends and the food service industry gets back up to speed.

Another group is cancelling a 2021 meeting. This time it’s the Wisconsin Holstein Association. Board members say with the Coronavirus pandemic still a problem, they will wait until 2022 for their next annual meeting and board elections. But the group says it will still hand out some of its annual awards within the next couple of months.

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