Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has announced that she and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) will introduce a bill to consider new Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMO) proposals and require the USDA to conduct hearings on restructuring the current pricing formulas used in FMMO.

The Dairy Pricing Reform Act would require the USDA to hold public information sessions on proposals for replacement of the current Class III milk pricing formula. The bill allows but would not require USDA to go to a formal hearing on the Class III proposals.

In addition, the bill would require USDA to hold hearings within 180 days of enactment on the implications of going to a two-class system and explore methods to improve short- and long-term price signals.

The new bill to amend the federal marketing orders comes in conjunction with the bill Gillibrand introduced previously, which would to exempt small farmers from supply management penalties as proposed in the Senate Farm Bill that passed in the last Congress.

An outline of Gillibrand's dairy reform priorities is available on her website.


Another Senate bill on FMMO was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would allow California to voluntarily enter the Federal Milk Marketing Order system. The bill, S. 663, is a Senate companion to the bill introduced last month in the House of Representatives by Rep. David Valadao (R-CA).

These bills would designate the state of California as a separate order under the federal system.

They would give California the “right to 'reblend' or distribute FMMO receipts to recognize quota value” and permit the state order to retain California’s quota system, which grants producers who own “quota” to receive a higher value for a specified portion of their milk. PD

—From International Dairy Foods Association news release