Nearly 17,000 dairies enrolled in Dairy Margin Coverage program

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture said last week that producers of nearly 17,000 dairies have signed up for the Dairy Margin Coverage program since signup opened June 17.

The deadline to sign up is Sept. 19.

The program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

As of Aug. 19, Wisconsin had the most participants with more than 4,832 dairy operations, followed by Minnesota (1,865), New York (1,779), Pennsylvania (1,511) and Michigan (702).

USDA’s Farm Service Agency began issuing program payments to producers on July 11. The program provides coverage retroactive to Jan. 1.

Ferguson Cattle Co. wins Good Farm Neighbor Award

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig has presented the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to Marvin, Craig and Chance Ferguson, owners of Ferguson Cattle Co. in Laurens, Iowa. Six family members spanning three generations are involved in the family’s beef operation.

The Fergusons raise a cow-calf herd, Holstein steers, show cattle and operate a row crop farming operation in Pocahontas County. Their neighbor John Sobotka commended the Fergusons for their environmental stewardship, animal husbandry and community involvement. By using rotational grazing, the Fergusons prevent their pastures from being overrun and they have a state-of-the-art livestock facility that aids in manure management.

 The Fergusons also are active in the community. Marvin is involved in the local chapter of the Kiwanis international service club. Craig is a member of the Pocahontas Co. Beef Producers Association. Chance and Craig help with the Pocahontas County Fair and they help 4-H members with beef projects.

Program connects cover crops, tillage with trout

FARIBAULT, Minn. — A field day that explore the watershed connections between agriculture, conservation, water quality and wildlife habitat will be held Sept. 16 on the Roger Helgeson farm on Rice Creek in Rice County.

Rice Creek is the county's only self-sustaining trout stream.

The day will include a farmer panel on conservation tillage, an electro fishing demonstration and habitat discussion, a stream table and aquatic insect presentation, and more.

The day begins at 11:45 a.m. and will end at 3 p.m. A light lunch will be provided. 

For more information, contact the Rice Soil & Water Conservation District at (507) 332-5408 or

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