Sens. Elder Vogel Jr. and Judy Schwank

HARRISBURGJune 3, 2024 – Today, the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee unanimously passed Sens. Elder Vogel Jr.’s (R-47) and Judy Schwank’s (D-11) Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) Program Financial Assistance legislation.

Senate Bill 1229 would permit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to provide financial assistance to producers who enroll in the federal dairy margin coverage program, based on availability of funding, and requires the department to develop and establish guidelines and eligibility criteria for the financial assistance.

“With June being national dairy month, there’s no better time to show support for our dairy farmers than by passing our Dairy Margin Coverage Program legislation,” said Vogel, majority chair of the committee. “In an industry full of uncertainty, it’s important to provide our dairymen and women with the security and stability they deserve when prices drop. Farmers are no stranger to managing risk and Senate Bill 1229 will provide them with valuable options to protect themselves and their operations.”

“Senate Bill 1229 is a key component of the long-term sustainability of our dairy industry and provides an incentive for farmers to join the federal Dairy Margin Coverage Program,” said Schwank, minority chair of the committee. “Dairy is a major contributor to our commonwealth’s robust agriculture sector, and this bill demonstrates our commitment to protecting the livelihoods of dairy farmers.”

The federal DMC program, authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, is a voluntary program that provides dairy operations with risk management coverage that will pay producers when the difference (the margin) between the national price of milk and the average cost of feed falls below a certain level selected by the program participants. Senate Bill 1229 now awaits the consideration of the full Senate.

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