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Scope of FMMO hearing should be widened

Some dairy groups are protesting the limitations of today’s Federal Milk Marketing Order hearing to amend national milk pricing formulas.

Chip English, representing the Milk Innovation Group, started the proceedings by objecting that not all Class I proposals are being heard.

“USDA’s failure to include proposals properly submitted within the scope of the invitation risk invalidating any final Class I pricing decisions resulting from the FMO hearing,” he says.

He argues USDA invited interested parties to submit potential amendments to current pricing provisions in June but a month later refused to hear the group’s extended shelf-life shrinkage proposal and organic milk exemption proposal because they fell outside the scope of the hearing.

“From a public policy consideration, if the economics do not justify current prices, the failure to address that reality by this agency is really a failure for consumers,” he testifies.

National All Jersey Incorporated is also echoing objections that additional pricing provisions have been excluded from the process.

The hearing in central Indiana Wednesday brings together USDA officials and dairy industry leaders to discuss pricing issues for the first time in more than 20 years.

The members of MIG are Anderson Erickson Dairy Co., Inc.; Aurora Organic Dairy; Crystal Creamery; Danone North America; Fairlife; HP Hood LLC; Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative; Shamrock Foods Company; Shehadey Family Foods, LLC (Producers Dairy Foods, Inc.; Model Dairy, LLC; Umpqua Dairy Products Co.); and Turner Dairy Farms.

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