Dairy groups begin questioning milk pricing proposals

The first day of the USDA’s hearing on the Federal Milk Marketing Order system found one dairy group’s attorney questioning another dairy group’s chief economist about component pricing.

Trial attorney Steve Rosenbaum for the International Dairy Foods Association asked Peter Vitaliano from the National Milk Producers Federation if farmers in the four non-MCP (Milk Component Price) federal orders would be paid the same as farmers in the other seven federal orders under their component pricing proposal, and Vitaliano confirmed they would. “Because we have to have a uniform set of class price formulas, there may be some farmers in those fat/skim orders that will be paid more than the value of their milk. Some will be paid less.”

Vitaliano testified the NMPF component pricing proposal would be more fair to farmers than the present skim/fat or non-component orders. “The point is, our proposal is designed to address the fact that farmers in those orders have been progressively underpaid or increasingly so for the value of the milk they’ve been producing since federal order reform.”

The hearing on the Federal Milk Marketing Order system began Wednesday with objections for not considering some Class I proposals by National All Jersey Inc. and the Milk Innovation Group.  Vitaliano was the first witness to represent a specific milk pricing proposal after the judge accepted several exhibits into evidence.

Thursday, the hearing will continue in Mt. Carmel, Indiana, and will continue to focus on the component pricing proposal offered by the National Milk Producers Federation with Vitaliano and two other witnesses.

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