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Bill to reform milk pricing to reflect national cost of production will be revived

PD Staff Published on 07 April 2011

Editor’s note: The following news summaries highlight activity by groups that are interested in and working towards dairy reform.

Former Specter-Casey Bill to be reintroduced
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The Progressive Agriculture Organization recently confirmed it is working with other producers to see that a failed dairy reform bill from the previous session of Congress is re-introduced this year.

The bill, known then as S1645 or the Specter-Casey Bill, would change how raw milk at the farm level is priced and would make it reflective of a national average cost of production and impose supply management. Arden Tewksbury, manager of the Pennsylvania-based organization, said that Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) was reviewing the bill and preparing to reintroduce it.

“It’s time to move ahead. Recent drops in milk prices prove (one more time) there has to be a more realistic formula to price raw milk at the farm level,” Tewksbury wrote on March 21, more than a week after the CME block cheddar cheese price began falling precipitously on March 11. During the week-long slide, the CME cheese price gave up 20 percent of its value.

“Unless there is forthcoming a better way to price milk than this bill, and I fail to see any on the horizon, then it is important that all dairy farmers rally around a new dairy bill strongly patterned after the Specter-Casey Bill.”

Dairy Industry Advisory Committee’s official report published
The official report of the Dairy Industry Advisory Committee has recently published to the public. On March 23, copies of the report were available to the public upon request.

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The report summarizes the work of a 17-member panel appointed by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to review farm milk price volatility and dairy farmer profitability. The committee began its work in August of 2009 and earlier this year recommended 23 actions that could be taken to address volatile milk prices and producer profitability.

To receive a digital or paper copy of the report, contact Solomon Whitfield at or ( 202) 720-7901 .

National Dairy Producers Organization holds meetings in the Midwest National Dairy Producers Organization Interim Executive Director Tom Van Nortwick recently visited with producers in Wisconsin and Minnesota about the National Dairy Producers Organization and its goals. Annual membership in the organization is $80 for producers; other allied industry members can join for a minimum fee of $125 per year. See www.nationaldairyproducers.org for more information. PD

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