Proposed Changes in Federal Milk Pools Cause a Stir

US - A dispute over how milk processors and bottlers pay dairy farmers for their product is raising years-old arguments over who's playing fair.
calendar icon 6 April 2009
clock icon 1 minute read

At issue are funding pools the government set up decades ago to ensure farmers get a minimum price for their milk, reports OrlandoSentinel. Processors and bottlers pay into the pools, but farms that do everything from raising cows to bottling and selling their own milk don't pay in, under an exemption for so-called "producer-handlers."

According to the OrlandoSentinel, The National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association want to scrap that exemption. Together they represent about 36,000 of the nation's 60,000 commercial dairy farmers and about 220 dairy processors.

"Producer-handler status was never intended to give unfair advantages to large milk plants, but such large producer-handlers put many small farms at risk," federation head Jerry Kozak wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture last month.

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