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Dairy Facts 2016

Organic Trade Association Seeks Amendment to Federal Orders

Oct 07, 2015

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) last week formally petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture to amend all Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMO) to change how organic milk handlers meet their minimum pricing and pooling obligations.

According to OTA, the proposed amendment would not exempt organic milk from the federal marketing orders, but rather would provide for an alternative, audited mechanism for USDA-certified organic milk handlers to meet their minimum price obligations under the various orders. It would permit USDA-certified organic milk handlers to use either the current method of payment or an alternative mechanism that recognizes premiums paid by organic processors to organic dairy farmers.

Adopting this alternative FMMO regulatory mechanism, which the OTA petition letter noted “was based on the historical ‘Wichita Option,’” likely would result in reducing or even eliminating payments by an organic milk processor into an FMMO pool.

USDA has not yet responded to this request, so IDFA will continue to monitor this issue. Should USDA seek comments on the proposal, IDFA will work closely with its Economic Policy Committees. 

IDFA supports phasing out the pricing and pooling provisions of federal orders. Until that happens, IDFA will continue to support making provisions in individual federal orders that will be as consistent across all federal orders as possible.

For more information, contact Bob Yonkers, IDFA vice president and chief economist, at

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