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Approved Minutes
Northeast Dairy Compact Commission
Regular Monthly Meeting
August 8, 2001, Sovereign Best Western Hotel, Mystic, Connecticut


Commissioners in Attendance:

RI:        Jametta Alston, Al Bettencourt, Aaron Briggs, Ron Newman and Peter Petrone
MA:     Gordon Cook and William Gillmeister (designee for Commissioner Jay Healy)
VT:      Jacques Couture, Andy Dykstra, Harold Howrigan, Millicent Rooney and Robert Starr  
NH:      Powell Cabot and Douglas Morris
ME:      Colon Durrell, Fred Hardy, and Stan Millay
CT:      Robert Jacquier, Neil Marcus, Shirley Ferris, Bob D’Alessandro and Mae Schmidle


Commission Staff in Attendance:

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

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


I.                    Presentations by Connecticut Congressional Delegation


Congressman Robert Simmons discussed the importance of the Compact and reviewed its status in Congress.

(Statement attached)


II.                 Public Participation


Bob Wellington from Agri-Mark thanked Congressman Simmons for his efforts on behalf of the Compact. He spoke about a meeting on Wednesday, August 1, 2001 with the Speaker of the House and approximately 40 Congressman, and said he thought it had gone very well. He said he had the impression the opposition was impressed, if not persuaded by pro-Compact arguments.


III.               Introduction of Guests


Gabe Moquin, Connecticut Department of Agriculture; Representative John Mordasky; Representative Jack Tiffany; Charles White, general manager of the Central Connecticut Farmer’s Co-op; Melissa Greenbacker, dairy farmer; Bob Jacquier, dairy farmer; Patrick Klein, dairy farmer; Janet Peracchio, dairy farmer; Bill Peracchio, dairy farmer; Christopher Field, documentary producer; Ray DiSanto, Federal Milk Market Administrator; Annie Ross; Gail Peterson; Dave Jacquier, dairy farmer; Bob Carlson, dairy farmer; State Representative Phil Prelli; Ed Platt, dairy farmer; Scott Blake, H.P. Hood; Chuck Lawson, Ohio dairy farmer; John Miller, Ohio dairy farmer; Grace Nome, Connecticut Food Association; Gail Christianson; Ray Christianson, NYSDAM; Carl Peterson, Agri-Mark; Carey McLure, president of the Ohio Farm Bureau; Bonnie Fitten, Ohio dairy farmer; Bob Wellington, Agri-Mark economist; Angela LaVallee, consumer; Kate Zeosky, New York State Senator Nancy Hoffman’s office; John Schneider, Connecticut Department of Agriculture; Walt Bradway, dairy farmer;  Tom Stanton, farm equipment dealer; Roger Hayes, dairy farmer; Mark Winne, Hartford Food System; Pat Green, New England Country Folks; Jack Collins, dairy farmer; Mavis Collins, dairy farmer; Richard Weingart, hoof trimmer, “There’ve been a lot more payments made a lot faster since we got the Compact.”; Joyce Lehner, dairy farm bookkeeper; Constance Jackson, Ohio Farm Bureau; Matthew Freund, dairy farmer; Dorey Carlson, dairy farmer; Connie Futon, dairy farmer; Ken Dibbell, New York dairy farmer.


IV.               Consideration of the Minutes of July 9, 2001


Motion – 8/8-1 by Harold Howrigan/ Second by Fred Hardy
Moved to accept the minutes of July 9, 2001 monthly meeting.


V.                 Financial Statement: Month Ending June 30, 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.     Chair’s Report


Chair Schmidle read letters presented by Senator Lieberman, Congressman Rosa L. DeLauro and State Senator Andrew Rorabeck.


(Statements attached)


B. Executive Director’s Report


Mr. Dan Smith complimented the impressive turnout at the meeting, calling it positive, encouraging and motivating.

Mr. Smith said that since the last meeting he has been primarily focused on preparing the testimony given in Washington to the Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Smith said implementing the Supply Management Program has been challenging, being essentially without precedent anywhere. He said he feels the staff and Regulations Committee are generally well prepared in terms of dealing with project complications.

Mr. Tom Lehner said the School Lunch Program is progressing on schedule, with all states having reported. Mr. Lehner reviewed some of the mechanics of the Supply Management Program.

Commissioner Fred Hardy asked if the Supply Management Program would result in two checks for eligible farmers. Mr. Lehner explained the payment was figured from the sum of two different formulas, but each eligible farmer would receive only one check.

Mr. Smith briefly reviewed the budgetary and procedural issues surrounding the September 30 sunset date and potential later reauthorization.

In response to an inquiry about the Compact’s status in Congress, Mr. Smith said the issue of the Northeast Dairy Compact Commission is now in front of Congress as an issue of primary concern. He said the Compact is in a better position now than it has ever been in the past. He indicated he is attempting, on behalf of the Commission to put as much information in front of Congress in as non-political a way as possible. He said that, unlike authorization and reauthorization efforts in the past, Congress is looking at what the Compact has done rather than what it might do.

Commissioner Andy Dykstra asked about the possibility of a temporary extension past September 30. Mr. Smith said it is a possibility that Senator Daschle has said he is receptive to. He noted the Compact Commission would have no legal authority after September without an extension and without authorization.

Commissioner Gordon Cook asked if the Compact is understood as a state’s rights issue in Washington. Mr. Smith indicated that it certainly was noted that 22 of the 25 governors in favor of the Compact have sent letters supporting the Compact to the Judiciary Committee.

Commissioner Howrigan cited the essential contradiction of giving farm assistance to 10 states while arguing over allowing six states to continue with a fiscal program not requiring federal money.

Mr. Smith welcomed the guests from Ohio.

C. Committee on Administration

Commissioner Peter Petrone confirmed the Committee on Administration had discussed via conference call the issues discussed by Mr. Smith.


VII.            New Business


A.             Recommendations of Committee on Finance

Motion 8/8-2 by Colon Durrell on behalf of the Committee on Finance
Moved to file for audit the June 30, 2001 financial statement


VIII.          Informational Presentations


A. The Environment, Open Spaces and Food Security

Commissioner Shirley Ferris introduced Mark Winne, Connecticut Committee of Food Security representative and executive director of the Hartford Food System.

(Statement attached)


2001 Recognition Awards

On behalf of the Commission, Commissioner Ferris Presented 2001 Recognition Awards to State Representative John Mordasky and Former State Representative Jack Tiffany.

Representative Mordasky said he was able to put two of his children through veterinary school in the early 1980s when milk prices were higher. He described the Dairy Compact as a determining factor for keeping farms operational.

Mr. Tiffany said he believes the current situation of the Compact is due in some part to retribution for Vermont Senator James Jeffords party switch earlier in the year.

“It’s tough enough to be voted down on merit,” said Mr. Tiffany. “To go down because of partisan bickering is tragic.”

Mr. Tiffany said he would hate in the future for the viability of his dairy farm to rest on the largess of the federal government rather than the value of his product.


Public Participation


Commissioner Robert Jacquier welcomed Commissioners to Connecticut.

New York Dairy Farmer Ken Dibbell said Mr. Smith and Commissioner Healy did an outstanding job at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.


2001 Recognition Awards (cont.)

Commissioner Ferris gave Jack R.H. Blum, former commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, a 2001 Recognition Award.

Mr. Blum said it was extraordinary that six states had passed Compact legislation and then passed legislation through Congress. He indicated it was the result of “people of good will” working successfully together, and complimented the Commission for their actions, too, as “people of good will.”


  1. Legislative Presentation: The Legislative Process, the Environment and Other Issues of Legislative Concern

State Senator Cathy Cook encouraged more focus on preserving working farms than on simply preserving open space.

State Representative Phil Prelli said the Compact Price Regulation allows farmers to make more capital investments, and to plan for the future. He said milk processors benefit by having a steady supply from known producers.

Representative Mordasky discussed milk trucks in Connecticut.


IX.               Presentation by Lieutenant Governor M. Jodi Rell

Lieutenant Governor Rell thanked the Compact Commission for their work. She described the Compact as crucial to the health of Connecticut dairy farming. She said 70 percent of Connecticut’s working land is dairy farmland.


     VIII. Informational Presentations (cont.)


C.     The Compact and Connecticut Farmers

Erica Fearn, Executive Director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau, said the Dairy Compact makes a difference to farmers in that it increases their economic confidence and sense of security, and encourages them to spend money on infrastructure. She said currently 40 percent of the milk processed in Connecticut comes from Connecticut farms, and that shipping raw milk within the region instead of getting it from outside the region helps to save on transportation costs.

Matthew Freund, a representative from the Litchfield County Dairy Committee, described the Compact as an equitable way to encourage the production of fresh milk in an environmentally responsible way.

Tim Slate, an equipment representative and spokesman for Very Alive, said the Compact offers stability to farming and secondary industries without detriment to the consumer.

(Statement attached.)


Melissa Greenbacker, a young Connecticut dairy farmer, discussed the Compact as crucial to the next generation of New England dairy farmers.

(Statement attached)


X.                 Staff Reports

Mr. Smith reviewed with the Commission his testimony before the United States Judiciary Committee, July 25, 2001

(statement attached)


XI.               Announcements: Opportunity for individual state comment

The Commission scheduled its next regular monthly meeting for September 5, 2001 in a location in New Hampshire to be decided.


    XII.     Chair Schmidle adjourned the meeting at 3:20 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Douglas Morris


The Northeast Dairy Compact Commission
64 Main Street, Room 21
Montpelier, VT 05602
phone: (802) 229-1941
fax: (802) 229-2028