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    Draft Minutes
    Northeast Dairy Compact Commission
    Regular Monthly Meeting
    July 9, 2001, Merry Manor Inn, South Portland, Maine

    Commissioners in Attendance:

    RI:Al Bettencourt, Aaron Briggs, Ron Newman and Peter Petrone
    MA:Gordon Cook and Jay Healy
    VT:Jacques Couture, Andy Dykstra, Harold Howrigan, Millicent Rooney and Robert Starr
    NH:Powell Cabot, Debora Erb and Douglas Morris
    ME:Colon Durrell, Fred Hardy, Stan Millay and Robert Spear
    CT:Robert Jacquier, Gabe Moquin, Neil Marcus and Mae Schmidle

    Commission Staff in Attendance:

    Daniel Smith, Executive Director; Thomas Lehner, Staff Counsel; Carmen Ross, Regulations Administrator; Amy Mandeville, Public Information Administrator

    Chair Mae Schmidle called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.

    I. Presentations by Maine Congressional Delegation 
    Congressman Thomas Allen discussed the Dairy Compact and the role of dairy farming in Maine.
    (Statement attached)

    Senator Susan Collins pledged her full support to the Compact.

    (Statement attached)

    Congressman John Baldacci spoke in support of the Compact.

    (Statement attached)

    Ms. Ginny Worrest, from the Washington, D.C. office of Senator Snowe, read a letter sent by the Senator in support of the Compact.

    (Letter attached)

    Commissioner Robert Spear spoke on behalf of Maine Governor Angus King, explaining that Governor King was unable to attend the meeting as planned due to an unexpected invitation to accompany President George W. Bush to the White House. Spear said Governor King, a supporter of the Compact, felt he could better serve the Compact by discussing it with President Bush rather than attending the meeting. Governor King sent his regrets at being unable to attend the meeting.

    Commissioner Neil Marcus asked the Congressional Delegation if there was any chance during the reauthorization process that the Northeast Dairy Compact might be separated from the issue of other states seeking Congressional authorization for regional dairy compacts. Senator Collins said it strengthens the chance of reauthorization to have more states involved, as more Senators and Representatives are likely to support the legislation in order to support a greater number of states, including their home states. Congressman Allen said he agreed with Senator Collins that numbers would strengthen the push for reauthorization.

    Commissioner Robert Starr asked why there are only 39 co-sponsors for the Compact in the Senate when 25 states have passed legislation authorizing compacts. Senator Collins said sometimes Senators decide not to co-sponsor a bill even if they ultimately plan to vote for it. Ms. Worrest noted that all New England, New York and Pennsylvania Senators support the Compact.

    Commissioner Fred Hardy thanked the Maine Delegation for attending the meeting, and for their persuasive arguments in support of the Compact.

    Commissioner Jay Healy asked how Senator Jeffords’ party switch will affect reauthorization, and if either of the Maine Senators intends to now take a more active role in the reauthorization process. He stated his concern that the Compact may be affected by politics unrelated to the Compact. Congressman Allen said having a larger group of states and sponsors involved in Compact reauthorization and the authorization of other regional compacts helps to dilute any negative effect of Senator Jeffords’ party switch.Congressman Allen said the Compact has many elements, such as the Supply Management Program, which better serve the market in terms of producers, consumers and processors than the Federal system does.

    Commissioner Aaron Briggs thanked the Maine Delegation for attending the meeting.

    New York Dairy Farmer Ken Dibbell said the solution to reauthorization is to negotiate with Midwest legislators. He said the problems in the Midwest are the same as those in the Northeast.

    Commissioner Leon Graves thanked the members of the delegation for their attendance and leadership and asked for the timeline for the announcement of President Bush’s dairy policy. Senator Collins said she doesn’t know what the timing is, and said that President Bush expressed concerns about the Compact during his election campaign. Senator Collins said Compact supporters in the Senate would be looking for vehicles to attach the Compact to. Ms. Worrest said she hasn’t yet heard when the administration will present its dairy policy, but said Senator Snowe’soffice has emphasized the Compact deadline.

    Bob Wellington from Agri-Mark asked if Congress is looking at the degree of power concentration among milk processors. Congressman Baldacci said the House Agriculture Committee did have a hearing about the power concentration of processors as well as grain suppliers and other sectors, but did not discuss the Compact as a counter measure. He said it is a bi-partisan concern in the agriculture sector.

    Executive Director Daniel Smith thanked the Maine Delegation, as did Chair Schmidle.

    II. Other Communications 
    Chair Schmidle presented the Joint Resolution Memorializing the Congress of the United States to Reauthorize the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact, signed by all of the legislators in the state of Maine.
    III. Introduction of Guests 
    Chair Schmidle introduced Maine Senators Michael Michaud, Richard Bennett and John Nutting and Representatives Carol Weston and Arlan Jodrey.
    Other Guests: Brian Wright, Maine dairy farmer; Carl Peterson, Agri-Mark; Ken Dibbell, New York dairy farmer; Erik Rasmussen, USDA Market Administrator; Pat Green, New England Country Folks Newspaper; Maggie Murphy, Assistant Director, New York State Agriculture Committee; Bob Wellington, Agri-Mark; Harold and Joyce Larrabee, Maine dairy farmers; Richard Johnson, Maine dairy farmer; Lee and Charlotte Bosworth, Maine dairy farmers; Russ Porter, Maine dairy farmer; John Blake, H.P. Hood; Mike Suever, H.P. Hood; Tom Brigham, Oakhurst Dairy; Ira Chamberlain, Maine dairy farmer; Kelly Fuerstenberg, New England Farmer; Bill Bell, feed industry representative; Gail and Ray Christensen, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets; Cheryl Leeman, Mayor of Portland, Maine; Andrew Leehas, Senator Snowe’s office; Caroline Briggs; Jon Olson, Maine Farm Bureau; Wayne Hapworth, Boston Milk; Victor Bissell, Jr., Maine dairy farmer; Lee Hathwith, Maine dairy farmer; Robert Tardy, former Maine legislator; Lee Grampon, dairy farmer; Steve Watrous, Allied Federated Cooperatives; Jonas and Melloni Worthen, Agri-Mark; Sharon Mack, Bangor Daily News; Blyss and Jamie Thurston, Maine dairy farmer; Shelley Doak, Maine Department of Agriculture; Matthew Algeo, Maine Public Radio; Walter Whitcomb, former Maine state Representative; Peter Curra, Linda Smith Dyer, former chair of the Northeast Dairy Compact Commission; Michael V. Saxl, Speaker of the Maine House.
    IV. Consideration of the Minutes of June 6, 2001 
    The minutes were revised per the recommendation of Commissioner Gordon Cook to reflect he said the price of cheese will likely affect the price of milk.
    Motion 7/9-1 by Andy Dykstra with revisions/Second by Fred Hardy
    Moved to accept the minutes of June 6, 2001 monthly meeting with
    revision to reflect that Commissioner Gordon Cook said the
    price of cheese may affect the price of milk.
    V. Financial Statement: Month Ending May 31, 2001 
    Commissioner Colon Durrell said he would present a motion on behalf of the Finance Committee during the New Business section of the agenda.
    VI. Reports 
    A. Executive Director’s Report
    Mr. Smith said his work has been in two parts this month: organizing the July meeting and assembling the Congressional Impact Report.

    Mr. Smith said Senator Leahy of the Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing during which Mr. Smith will present the Congressional Impact Report.

    Mr. Smith said the Organic Cow case was argued in Federal court.

    Mr. Smith said the budget changes approved by the Finance Committee has allowed work on the Impact Analysis to proceed smoothly.

    B. Committee on Administration

    Commissioner Peter Petrone said the Committee would make two motions during the New Business portion of the agenda.

    C. Committee on Regulations and Rulemaking

    Commissioner Robert Starr said the committee intended to make a motion regarding the Supply Management program during the New Business portion of the agenda.

    VII. New Business 
    A. Recommendations of Committee on Administration
    Motion 7/9-2 by Peter Petrone on behalf of the Committee on Administration
    Moved to approve payment of an invoice from the Allbee
    Consulting Group in the amount of $11,300

    Motion 7/9-3 by Peter Petrone on behalf of the Committee on Administration
    Moved to approve payment of the July 2000
    Milk Market Administrator’s bill

    B. Recommendation of Committee on Finance

    Motion 7/9-4 by Colon Durrell on behalf of the Committee on Finance
    Moved to file for audit the May 31, 2001 financial statement

    C.Recommendation of Committee on Regulations and                            Rulemaking

    Motion 7/9-5 by Robert Starr on behalf of the Committee on Regulations and Rulemaking
    Moved the Commission adopt the general guidelines for treating producers similarly to how the cooperatives and handlers treat them as payroll entities; and

    Authorize the Committee on Regulations and Rulemaking to evaluate particular cases upon referral from the staff and to make exceptions to the general guideline for unusual circumstances based on fairness. Members of the Committee who are eligible for a refund under the program will not participate in this process. Members will recuse themselves from consideration of application claims from their states.

    Commissioner Andy Dykstra asked if farmers who over-produced needed to send in paperwork for the Supply Management Program. Mr. Tom Lehner said they should not.

    VIII. Informational Presentations 
    A. The Dairy Compact and the Legislative Process in Maine
    Commissioner Robert Spear introduced Senator Michael Michaud, President of the Maine Senate. Senator Michaud said he was pleased to join others in support of the Compact. He said that on June 18, the Maine legislature unanimously approved a joint resolution urging Congress to re-approve the Compact. He said the Compact has helped keep Maine dairy farmers in business, thus encouraging a steady supply of local dairy products, open space and a superior quality of life. He referred to agriculture as a bi-partisan issue.

    Senator Richard A. Bennett, President Pro Tempore, spoke of the support in the Maine Senate for the Compact, and dairy farming’s place in the Maine economy.

    (Statement attached)

    Cheryl A. Leeman, Mayor for the city of Portland, spoke of the commitment Maine dairy farmers have to the industry, and of the benefit to consumers of the Compact.

    (Statement attached)

    2001 Recognition Awards 
    On behalf of the Commission, Commissioner Spear Presented 2001 Recognition Awards to Senator John Nutting, Representative Robert Tardy, Representative Walter Whitcomb, Peter Curra and Linda Smith Dyer. Governor Angus King and Michael Wiers were not present to accept their awards.
    Public Participation 
    Mr. Dibbell said farmers could survive comfortably from farm income alone if the Compact payment was doubled. Mr. Dibbell said he is looking to New York State to price Class 1 milk should the Compact not be re-approved. He advocates pricing milk relative to the cost of production.
    1. The Dairy Compact and the Legislative Process in Maine (cont.) 
    Maine Speaker of the House Michael Saxl said the Dairy Compact is essential in Maine and New England primarily because it helps assure the availability of fresh, wholesome milk.
    (Statement attached)

    Senator Nutting, one of two active farmers in the Maine legislature, said he believes the Maine Vendors Fee gave the Northeast the courage to go ahead with the Northeast Dairy Compact Commission. He said the debate about reauthorization is really a debate about what percentage of the consumers’ food dollar the farmer gets. He said the profit margin of supermarkets has grown while the farmers’ margins continue to shrink. He said his fear for the Compact in the future is that if supermarkets continue to increase their margin and blame it on the Compact, there may be a negative reaction to the Compact and a boycott on milk.

    Representative Carol Weston commented on the Joint Resolution, which was signed by 100 percent of the Maine legislature.

    Former Representative Walter Whitcomb referred to the Compact as an ingenious way to offset low prices without spending billions of public dollars.

    (Statement attached)

    B.Maine Processors’ Assessment of the Compact

    Tom Brigham, Chief Financial Officer of Oakhurst Dairy, said Oakhurst Dairy is not opposed to the extension of the Compact and that the prices have not become high enough to affect consumption, nor has the dairy been put at economic disadvantage with regard to competition.

    (Statement attached)

    Mike Suever, Vice President of Milk Procurement and Processing at H.P. Hood, spoke of H.P. Hood and milk processing in general.

    (Statement attached)

    C.Maine Agriculture and Dairy Farmers

    William Bell, Executive Director of the New England Grain and Feed Council and Director of the Eastern Federation of Feed Merchants spoke of the tenuous nature of agriculture, and how entire industries can be greatly diminished over the space of a few years.

    (Statement attached)

    Harold Larrabee, Former Agri-Mark director and dairy farmer, discussed the Compact from the perspective of a working farmer.

    (Statement attached)

    Jon Olson, Executive Secretary of the Maine Farm Bureau, discussed the importance of dairy farming and of the Compact.

    (Statement attached.)

    IX. Announcements: Opportunity for individual state comments 
    Commissioner Gabe Moquin said the next monthly meeting of the Northeast Dairy Compact Commission is in Mystic, Connecticut on August 8, 2001.
    X. Adjournment 
    Chair Schmidle adjourned the meeting at 2:40 p.m.
    Respectfully submitted,

    Douglas Morris

    Return to Compact Legislation 

    The Northeast Dairy Compact Commission
    64 Main Street, Room 21
    Montpelier, VT 05602

    phone: (802) 229-1941 fax: (802) 220-2028