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Digest Highlights: Droughty dairy areas primarily in the Southwest. USDA reopens disaster programs. Two dairy promotion groups merge. May milk prices improve a little in federal, California orders. Find these and other news summaries affecting dairy farmers here.

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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has approved a one-week extension for producers to sign up for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). Producers now have until June 8 to enroll in MPP-Dairy for 2018; the original deadline was June 1.

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The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin processing Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) payments for participating dairy farmers on June 4, according to a notice sent to state and county FSA offices on May 31. Payments will be issued directly to producers via electronic deposit; there will be no paper checks, according to Wayne Maloney, in the FSA public affairs office, Washington, D.C.

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The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s seventh annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards were presented during a ceremony at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, on May 16.

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Interest rates on farm loans continued to increase in the first quarter of 2018, based on quarterly reports from Federal Reserve district banks in the U.S. heartland (Table 1). In most cases, average interest rates on all loan types were the highest since mid-2011 to early 2012.

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