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Time is ripe for national milk hearing

Arden Tewksbury
Arden Tewksbury

The Progressive Agriculture Organization (Pro-Ag) announced they are in the process of submitting a petition to the USDA requesting a national milk hearing to consider changing the method of determining the value of milk at the farm level.

Our petition will be requesting the USDA to consider the national average cost of producing milk as determined by the Economic Research Service, a division of the USDA, as a starting price for all milk.

We have submitted thousands of petitions to the USDA signed by consumers requesting a realistic price for all dairy farmers.

The continued price decline at the farm level has convinced Pro-Ag that the average dairy farmer can no longer exist with the unrealistic prices they are receiving.

Some people are urging the ill-fated Margin Insurance Program can be improved enough to solve the dairy farmers’ financial problems. We takes a strong exception to the Margin Insurance Program as being the savior of dairy farmers.

Dairy farmers are entitled to receive a fair price based on the cost of producing milk.

In keeping with the intent of the 1937 Agriculture Act, the Pro-Ag proposal would use the national average cost of producing milk as a method of determining the value of all milk that is used to manufacture dairy products.

The fluid price (known as the Class I Price) would still be determined by using the Class I differentials in each existing Federal Milk Marketing Orders. The final price paid to dairy farmers would be determined by how the milk is utilized in each Federal Order.

We fully realize that the dairy farmers’ cost of production will vary some on each farm, but by using the average cost of production becomes a method to allow every dairy farmer a fighting chance to stay in business.

Please remember every dairy farmer’s cost of production varies on each farm under the present pricing system, however, the dairy farmers’ cost of production is not considered in the present pricing system even though the 1937 Agriculture Act says the dairy farmer’ cost should be considered.

The announcement of the prices paid to dairy farmers would be made much earlier than the present pricing system, which in turn, would be beneficial to dairy farmers, dairy processors, and the consumers.

If you want to support Pro-Ag’s petition, please email us at or call us at 570-833-5776.

Tewksbury is the manager of Pro-Ag