NEW JERSEY – Legislation assisting the state’s struggling dairy farmers, sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Steve Oroho, has been signed by Governor Phil Murphy.
The new law, S-3465/A-4336, directs the State Department of Agriculture to provide reimbursement to dairy farmers for annual premiums paid to participate in the federal Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.
“It wasn’t long ago that the Garden State was home to more than 400 dairy farms, but today the number has dropped below 50. This will help preserve the remaining farms, protecting them from unstable milk prices in the marketplace that threaten profitability,” Oroho (R-24) said. “Dairy farmers, contending with ever-increasing financial and societal pressures, work seven-day weeks caring for the cows and fighting to sustain their operation.”
Established by the federal 2018 Farm Bill, the DMC is essentially an annual insurance policy against milk prices too low to cover overhead.
A voluntary risk management tool for dairy producers, the program issues payments when the national average income-over-feed-cost margin falls below a coverage determined by the individual farmers.
Only 23 dairy farmers, barely half the milk producers in New Jersey, applied to participate in the program in 2019. The new law encourages participation in the program and makes it easier for farmers to afford the coverage.