The newly released budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture includes projected increased costs to operate the 10 federally sanctioned milk market orders.

Employees of the Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMOs) set minimum prices for milk, as authorized under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. The majority of the administrative costs for offices and staff are paid by food and beverage companies that buy the milk to bottle it for consumers, or to make other dairy products. 

In 2014, the USDA budget for administration of the FMMOs was $47 million; it is expected to increase to $49 million in 2015 and further increase to $51 million in 2016. The number of employees also is expected to increase from the current 348 to 359 in 2015, according to budget estimates. 

In addition, for 2016, $20 million will be used to finance USDA oversight activities for all marketing agreements and orders at the national level. These funds come from the U.S. Treasury and are in addition to the industry-funded FMMO assessments. 

In a separate section of the budget, the Office of Management and Budget asked Congress to allow oversight of the FMMO regulations. Congress has made OMB the government-wide clearinghouse for all federal regulations, with the exception of agricultural marketing orders authorized under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. Congress has included the marketing order oversight exemption in annual appropriations bills that fund the OMB.

For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at