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Vermont Commission Backs Off Milk Tax for Now

Dec 15, 2008

The Vermont Milk Commission decided last week to hold off on implementing a proposed fluid milk premium that would have raised as much as $8.8 million per year for dairy farmers in the state. While not completely eliminating the proposal, the commission agreed to meet again early next year to review the impact any new premium would have on consumers.

IDFA has opposed the current proposal, which would require dairy processors to pay a minimum price on all milk sold at retail in the state. At $27.00 per hundredweight, this proposed fluid milk premium is significantly higher than what is required by the federal government.

According to the Vermont Milk Commission, the purpose of the proposal is to stabilize the cost of milk for consumers while helping the dairy farmers maintain a viable income. Because Vermont exports 95 percent of its milk to other states, IDFA and others have argued that adding the estimated 39-cent premium per gallon to retail milk prices would encourage consumers to buy milk outside of the state, decreasing milk demand and hurting farmers instead of helping.

"Supporting Vermont's dairy farmers through premiums would hurt all parts of the state's dairy industry and ultimately would not help dairy farmers," said Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs.

IDFA worked with the Northeast Dairy Foods Association and the Vermont Grocers' Association, along with their respective memberships, to oppose the proposal.

The December meeting was the fifth held by the commission since June to discuss the proposed premium. The commission plans to meet again in February for further study and review. IDFA will remain engaged and will continue to oppose any type of premium.

For more information, contact Will Telligman, IDFA coordinator of legislative affairs, at or 202-220-3528.


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