For Immediate Release Contact: Tina Wisell

April 1, 1998 (802)-229-1941

Compact Commission Votes to Escrow 20% of April and May Farmer Payment Funds:
Will Hold Series of Public Meetings to Gather Information on Increased Production

The Northeast Dairy Compact Commission on Tuesday decided to take a two-step approach to dealing with the issue of increased milk production in the region. The Commission voted to escrow 20 percent of the farmer payment funds for April and May in order to cover possible Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) purchases which could result from increased milk production in the Compact region during the 1998 fiscal year. Commission members also agreed that holding a series of informal public meetings across the region would help them gather the necessary data to deal with the issue effectively.

The Compact's enabling legislation and regulation requires the Commission to reimburse the federal government for the cost of CCC purchases of any surplus production during the 1998 fiscal year that might occur should the production increases in the Compact region exceed the national average.

The Commission had previously escrowed 80% of the March payment to set aside for possible CCC reimbursements. As part of its decision Tuesday to escrow 20% of the April and May payments, the Commission also agreed to review in June the need for continuing action.

Compact Commission Chair Mike Wiers stated, "This procedure will allow the substantial majority of the monthly payments to be made going into planting season. At the same time, the Commission will continue to be responsive to the CCC issue, so as to be prepared should there prove to be a CCC obligation. The Commission will also continue to send the necessary, strong, signal to farmers and processors of the need to continue to be attentive to the supply issue. In sum, the Commission will have adopted a consistent course of action in proper response to this issue, and one which will bring the process up to late spring and early summer, when the production issue will be clearer."

Commission members also agreed with the recommendation of the Commission's Committee on Regulations to begin a comprehensive review process of both the issue of increased production in the region as well as the New York milk supply pattern. To accomplish this, the Regulations Committee will be holding a series of five informal public meetings over the next two months that will allow the committee to hear in depth on these issues from interested persons from throughout the region. Information gathered at these meetings will then be used by the Committee to develop proposed changes to the regulation.

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