Final arguments filed for milk marketing order reforms

Another deadline has arrived for the long process of modernizing the federal milk marketing order system.  Final formal legal briefs had to be received by USDA April 1st.

Peter Vitaliano with the National Milk Producers Federation tells Brownfield they have given the USDA its documents outlining how the federal milk marketing orders should be modernized.  He says it’s a summary of their arguments presented in the 49-day-long Carmel, Indiana hearing. “It’s sort of your last chance to frame your arguments, what you are proposing to do, what you want USDA to do to change the order provisions and to some extent also why you think that the folks that were opposing you don’t have good arguments.”

Vitaliano says National Milk Producers Federation submitted their final arguments for their proposals and against some proposals they say would be detrimental to dairy farmers. “About 330-some pages of actual arguments summing up our case. We had five separate proposals at this hearing.”

Vitaliano says USDA now has until July 1st to review all briefs and make its recommendations.  Then, he says there will be a final comment period before farmers get to vote, and he says farmers will need to be well-informed. “You can’t vote yes or no on the amendment. You either vote yes for the order as amended or you vote your order out. It’s all or nothing.”

Vitaliano says the issues of returning the Class I mover to the “higher of” (Class III and IV) formula and mandatory processor price reporting might be addressed in the next farm bill, but it’s unclear when the farm bill will move forward.

AUDIO: Peter Vitaliano discusses the filing of legal briefs and how it is part of the process for modernizing the federal milk marketing orders with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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