|Posted:||May 11, 2015 11:29 AM|
|From:||Representative John A. Lawrence|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Accountability for State Mandated Milk Premiums Owed to Dairy Farmers (Prior HB1996)|
Dear Colleagues -
In the near future, I will reintroduce legislation to encourage transparency and accountability with regard to premiums owed to Pennsylvania dairy farmers.
The Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (MMB) regulates milk pricing in the Commonwealth. For many years, the MMB has assessed a fee (known as the "over-order premium") on every gallon of milk sold in Pennsylvania with the intent that this fee be returned to the Pennsylvania dairy farmer to help cover production costs. Currently, the over order premium is set at $1.85 per hundredweight, or about 16 cents per gallon.
For many years, there has been significant concern by some family farmers that a percentage, perhaps a significant percentage, of the over-order premium is not making it back to the Pennsylvania dairy farmer. There is no standardized way for a farmer to know exactly how much of his or her "milk check" results from monies collected by the over-order premium. Each milk dealer and dairy cooperative sets its own policy as to how the over-order premium is distributed back to their member dairy farmers. I would contend that this was not the original intent of the over-order premium, which was established by the state to provide the dairy farmer with a bit of a cushion in the historically challenging environment of fickle market prices for dairy products.
My proposal would require any payment (typically a "milk check") made to a farmer clearly delineate the dollar amount of the total that consists of monies collected from the state mandated over-order premium. This bill will be similar to House Bill 1996 from last session with some changes to clarify the intent of the proposal to ensure transparency in payments to family farmers.
I would appreciate your support of this important initiative to benefit Pennsylvania's family dairy farmers. Thank you.
Sponsors of HB 1996 last session:
MAHER, AUMENT, BAKER, BENNINGHOFF, CLYMER, COHEN, COX, CUTLER, DENLINGER, FEE, GILLEN, GINGRICH, GREINER, C. HARRIS, HICKERNELL, LONGIETTI, LUCAS, MENTZER, MILLARD, MOUL, MURT, O'NEILL, PARKER, PICKETT, ROCK, SWANGER, TOOHIL, WATSON, WHITE and YOUNGBLOOD
Introduced as HB1265