The MILC Program - Time to Act for the 2.4 Billion Pound Plus Producers

Ms. Dianne Shoemaker, District Dairy Specialist, Ohio State University

The beginning of the next Milk Income Loss Compensation (MILC) program fiscal year (October 1, 2003 through September 30, 2004) is fast approaching. For producers who ship less than the 2.4 million pounds of milk sold payment cap, no action is necessary. However, producers who will ship more than that must act quickly if their designated start month was October 2002.

Over-the-cap producers have the option of deciding which month they will begin to receive payments for a program year. Many initially chose October of 2002 because prevailing milk prices led to a $1.59/cwt program payment. Payments continued monthly until the 2.4 million pound cap was met. Unless a producer changed the designated starting month (this must be done by the 15th of the preceding month), the program will begin payments again starting in October 2003 for the 2003/2004 program year.

Program payments decline as milk prices increase. For instance, September's payment will be $0.00. It is anticipated that the October 2003 payment will be zero or near zero. It is important to note that pounds of milk produced are accrued, regardless of the amount of the program payment. In other words, if the monthly payment is zero, the producer will not receive a payment. However, the pounds of milk sold in that month will still be counted against the 2.4 million pound annual maximum.

Producers shipping more than the 2.4 million pound production cap should check with their local Farm Services Agency Office before September 15th to see if their start month is where they want it to be.