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Federal Milk Marketing Order Hearing Wraps up with Final Plea to Adjust Class I Mover

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On Jan. 30, the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) public hearing came to a close.

The national hearing, which took place in Carmel, Indiana, began back on Aug. 23, 2023, and included 12 weeks of testimony and cross-examination as the USDA considered proposals seeking to amend the uniform pricing formulas applicable in all 11 FMMOs.

The previous revisions to the uniform FMMO pricing formulas were made in the early 2000s, and proponents contend they should be amended now to reflect the significant changes that have occurred in the dairy industry and milk marketing in the last two decades.

As the last witness of the hearing process, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) economist Danny Munch read a letter sent to USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging the agency to issue a final decision on an emergency basis to speed the implementation of the “higher-of” Class I mover formula.

“The comprehensive process of amending federal orders, though important, means dairy farmers remain stuck with current pricing regulations until USDA publishes a final rule,” Sam Kieffer, AFBF vice president of public policy, said in the letter.

Kieffer added, “The current Class I mover was a well-intentioned policy misstep that has reduced dairy farmers’ checks, with little relief in sight. Emergency implementation of the ‘higher-of’ Class I mover formula will help buffer against persistent losses associated with mistaken and outdated policies that have left dairy farmers struggling to make ends meet.”

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