Gov. Doyle: Urges Action on Milk Price Rule

Governor Jim Doyle today urged U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to expedite the decision-making process for correcting milk price formulas.  In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) held emergency hearings on Class III (cheese) and Class IV (butter/nonfat dry milk) milk pricing formulas, but has delayed making a decision.  Instead, the USDA is re-opening the pricing formulas for further debate.

Quick action is needed to help alleviate extremely thin profit margins in cheese manufacturing.

“The dairy industry cannot be held economic hostage to formulas outdated by six years while energy and other production costs have increased dramatically,” Governor Doyle said. “I strongly encourage you to issue a decision so that our dairy farmers can get the fair and equitable milk prices they deserve.”

In December Governor Doyle called on the USDA to hold emergency hearings to update its outdated pricing formulas to account for the rising energy and production costs facing the dairy industry.

During the four days of testimony in January, a number of credible proposals to correct the formulas were presented and substantiated by a broad spectrum of the dairy industry.  These provide adequate input for making a short term decision.  A short term decision does not prevent USDA from seeking additional proposals for improving the pricing regulations in the future.

The letter is available at: