Producer Groups File Appeal to Delay New Make Allowances
After a U.S. district court judge last Friday denied a petition from dairy producer groups to block the implementation of new make allowances, the producers requested a stay pending an appeal they filed with the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Early this morning, IDFA and others filed documents in opposition. It's now up to a panel of three judges to decide, perhaps as early as today and no later than Tuesday morning, whether to grant the stay.
Regardless of the decision, the October prices for Class I and Class II skim milk and Class I butterfat will be reported in an advanced price announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will release tomorrow, September 23. But the decision will determine which make allowances USDA will be able to use to set the prices.
If the appeals court denies the producer groups' request, tomorrow's price announcement will be based on the new make allowances. If the court decides that the appeal has merit, however, tomorrow's prices will be based on the old make allowances.
The remaining October class and component prices will be released by USDA as scheduled on October 31.
The producer groups filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in August seeking a preliminary injunction to delay the new make allowances until a full trial before the judge could be scheduled. The judge denied the request, finding that the producers were not entitled to file a judicial challenge to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's announced changes to the make allowances.
According to Bob Yonkers, IDFA vice president and chief economist, the judge based his decision on arguments contained in the legal brief that IDFA submitted in court on September 16. IDFA had been granted the right to intervene in the lawsuit and participated on the side of USDA.
"The judge's decision on Friday to deny the stay benefits the entire dairy industry," Yonkers said. "If it is upheld, it will keep all segments of the industry healthy by maintaining a market for farm milk and ensuring the longer term viability of dairy product manufacturers."
The lawsuit challenged USDA's tentative partial final decision to amend the Class III and Class IV product price formulas in all federal milk marketing orders. The plaintiffs said the decision was illegal and claimed it did not consider requirements set forth by the new farm bill or information gathered during department hearings.
The dairy producers who brought suit are the Arkansas Dairy Cooperative Association, Inc.; Central Sands Dairy, LLC; Columbia River Dairy, LLC; Continental Dairy Products, Inc.; Dairy Producers of New Mexico; Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association; Select Milk Producers, Inc.; United Dairymen of Arizona; and Zia Milk Producers, Inc.
Several other dairy producer cooperatives joined USDA and IDFA as interveners in the case. They are Agri-Mark, Inc., Associated Milk Producers, Inc., Foremost Farms USA Cooperative, Land O' Lakes, Inc., Michigan Milk Producers Association, and Northwest Dairy Association. According to their court filing, these dairy cooperatives represent more than 14,000 dairy farmer members.
For more information, contact Yonkers at 202-220-3511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.