NJ Agriculture Hearing Gathers Proposals for Aid to Dairy Farmers
On August 29, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture held a second hearing to explore methods for providing emergency assistance to the state's dairy farmers. IDFA Chief Economist Bob Yonkers was one of more than 10 witnesses who testified at the hearing, which the department called to gather evidence on the cost of production and review ways to help the farmers cope with low milk prices.
The witnesses, who represented producers, processors and retailers, presented testimony concerning dairy markets. A number of solutions were proposed, including a state-mandated over-order premium, a fuel adjustment, and wholesale and retail minimum pricing.
Yonkers testified on the complex nature of milk price regulation and the disproportionate economic impact on low income households that state pricing regulations would have on New Jersey consumers. He urged the department to be cautious when considering proposals that would raise the cost of farm milk and subsequently distort markets.
Other industry allies and representatives who presented testimony were Earl Fink of the Pennsylvania Association of Milk Dealers; Mary Ledman, a dairy industry consultant; Bruce Krupke of New York State Dairy Foods, Inc.; and Carl Herbein, a dairy accountant. In total, more than 40 farmers and industry representatives attended the all-day meeting
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is expected to take some form of action and will issue a decision within 15 days of the hearing.
IDFA has formed a coalition representing processors, retailers and consumer groups to coordinate efforts in New Jersey, and will continue to work with regional allies to ensure the enactment of sound public policy that is non-market intrusive, long-term in scope and serves to benefit producers, processors and consumers alike.
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To review IDFA's chart of 2006 state legislation related to dairy, click here. (.pdf) This new chart will be updated on a periodic basis to provide the status of monitored bills.
For more information, contact the IDFA legislative group at 202/737-4332.
Posted September 5, 2006