By Associated Press - Sunday, July 5, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - Dairy farmers in the Dakotas can now enroll in a federal price protection program for coverage in 2016.

The Margin Protection Program is a voluntary insurance program that enables dairy farmers to protect themselves from low prices. The enrollment period runs through Sept. 30.

The program protects farmers when the difference between milk prices and feed costs fall below an amount selected by the farmer. Minimum coverage costs farmers a $100 flat fee.

U.S. Agriculture Department deputy secretary Krysta Harde says half dairy producers nationwide signed up for coverage during the previous enrollment period.

Participating farmers will remain in the program through 2018 and pay the $100 administrative fee each year. Producers also have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year.

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