U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation that would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to begin holding Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) hearings by this summer, to give milk producers a greater voice in dairy pricing.
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the Federal Milk Marketing Order in line with these changes." The Dairy Pricing Opportunity Act would direct the USDA to initiate the process of holding Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) hearings within six months. Pic: Getty Images/stu99

These hearings would re-evaluate how the price of Class I (or fluid) milk is calculated and pave the way for changes to better support the dairy industry. Class I, or fluid milk, is milk that is sold directly to consumers for drinking and typically drives the highest prices for dairy farmers.

“Maine’s dairy farmers are critical parts of communities across our state, driving our economy and creating nutritious, high-quality products,”​ said Senator King.

“However, an unnecessarily complicated pricing formula, changes included in the 2018 Farm Bill, and the effects of an unprecedented pandemic have resulted in the loss of significant revenues for these farms over the last two years. It’s clear that we need to reevaluate how we price milk, and dairy farmers deserve a seat at the table in that discussion – which is why I’m cosponsoring the Dairy Pricing Opportunity Act. I’m hopeful that this bipartisan legislation will advance through Congress and ensure our dairy farmers are being fairly compensated for their work.”

“The Maine Dairy Industry Association would like to thank Senator King for his support of the Dairy Pricing Opportunity Act,”​ said Heath Miller, treasurer of the Dairy Farmer Industry Association.

“Our industry has seen a considerable change in the way milk is utilized, this act will allow industry stakeholders to have a voice in bringing the Federal Milk Marketing Order in line with these changes.”​

The Dairy Pricing Opportunity Act, which is also cosponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to initiate the process of holding Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) hearings within six months.

The hearings would provide an opportunity for producers, who understand the dynamics of milk pricing first-hand, to weigh in on the proposals and create a system that better reflects the work, costs, and needs of producers.

Last year, Senator King co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to combat the practice of labeling non-dairy products using dairy names, and introduced a resolution recognizing June 2021 as “National Dairy Month.” In May 2021, he joined his colleagues in sending a letter to USDA urging additional COVID-19 relief to dairy farmers.

Recently, Senator King joined the Maine Delegation in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide federal support to the 14 Maine organic dairy farms who were notified that their contracts will not be renewed by Horizon Organic.

The quality rating of domestic dairy products has remained above 99 percent for six consecutive years, experts said at a webinar.

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