Northeast Dairy Compact Commission
Regular Monthly Meeting
August 8, 2001, Sovereign Best Western Hotel, Mystic, Connecticut
Commissioners in Attendance:
Jametta Alston, Al Bettencourt, Aaron Briggs, Ron Newman and Peter
MA: Gordon Cook and
William Gillmeister (designee for Commissioner Jay Healy)
Couture, Andy Dykstra, Harold Howrigan, Millicent Rooney and Robert Starr
Cabot and Douglas Morris
Durrell, Fred Hardy, and Stan Millay
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.
Presentations by Connecticut Congressional Delegation
Congressman Robert Simmons discussed the
importance of the Compact and reviewed its status in Congress.
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.
Introduction of Guests
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.
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.
MOTION PASSED 6 TO O
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.
Chair Schmidle read letters presented by
Senator Lieberman, Congressman Rosa L. DeLauro and State Senator Andrew
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
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
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.
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
MOTION PASSED 6 TO 0
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.
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
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.
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
Commissioner Ferris gave Jack R.H. Blum,
former commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, a 2001
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.”
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
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.)
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.
Melissa Greenbacker, a young Connecticut dairy
farmer, discussed the Compact as crucial to the next generation of New England
Mr. Smith reviewed with the Commission his
testimony before the United States Judiciary Committee, July 25, 2001
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
Chair Schmidle adjourned the meeting at 3:20 p.m.