OCTOBER 6, 1999


Commission Members in Attendance:

CT: Robert Jacquier, Mae Schmidle, Gabe Moquin (designee)

MA: Gordon Cook, Jay Healy, Mary K. Kassler, Sam Shields

ME: Fred Hardy, Colon Durrell

NH: Debora Erb, Powell Cabot, Douglas Morris

RI: Al Bettencourt, Jr., Aaron Briggs, Ron Newman, Peter Petrone

VT: Jacques Couture, Andy Dykstra, Harold Howrigan, Millicent Rooney, Bobby Starr

Members Ex Officio Present: Leon Graves, Commissioner Vermont Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets

Commission Staff Present: Kenneth Becker, Executive Director; Dixie Henry, General Counsel; Carmen Ross, Regulations Administrator; David Ferch, Public Information Director; Patricia Lammott, temporary Office Assistant.

Chairman Mae Schmidle called the meeting to order at 10:10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 1999.

Public Participation:

B. Wellington summarized the Congressional reauthorization effort and the lawsuit filed by a number of dairy coops against USDA.

A. Briggs asked the Commissioners to sign a photograph of his farm and cows.

L. Graves summarized the Congressional Reauthorization effort.

At the request of the Chair, the members of the audience introduced themselves. They included Pat Green of Country Folks, Diane Bothfeld of St. Albans Coop, Ray Christensen of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Gail Christensen a dairy farmer, Bob Wellington of Agri-Mark, Beth Foley from the Milk Market Administrator's Office, Carl Peterson of Agri-Mark, Sally Beach of IDA, Donovan Lee of the Milk Market Administrator's Office, Lou Spychalski of the Food and Nutrition Service, Susan Harlow from New England Farmer.


Consideration of the Minutes for the Prior Meeting:

Motion 10/6-1 by Bobby Starr/Second by Gordon Cook

Moved to approve the minutes of the Sept. 1, 1999 meeting.


Financial: Treasurer's Report for the month ending August 1999:

M. Kassler said loans listed as liabilities on the August 31 balance sheet have since been repaid in September. Overall, the Commission is under budget because vacancies were unfilled and expenses tightly controlled.

K. Becker added that payroll benefits, which previously were not included in the financial report because they were only estimates, will be added in future reports.

Motion 10/6-2 by Mary K. Kassler on behalf of the Finance Committee

Moved that the Commission accept for file for audit purposes the statement of revenues and expenditures, January through August 1999 and Balance Sheet as of August 31, 1999 as compiled by Fothergill, Segale and Valley, CPA




K. Becker said he was invited to attend the annual meetings of DairyLea and Agri-Mark cooperatives.

Chairman's Report:

M.Schmidle thanked the staff for their efforts during the previous two weeks.

Executive Director's Report:

Committee on Finance Report:

Delivered under Treasurer's Report

Committee on Administration:

No report requiring action by the Commission was offered.

Audit Committee:

No Report was offered.

Bylaws Committee:

The Bylaws Committee did not meet.

The Commmitte on Regulations and Rulemaking:

A report will be offered under Old Business in the Agenda.

Old Business:

H. Howrigan, J. Couture, G. Moquin recounted their experiences at the Dairy Rally in Washington, D.C. on September 15.

K. Becker described the letter he sent to the Commodity Credit Corp. along with the obligation payment.

B. Starr and L. Graves further summarized Congressional Reauthorization efforts.

Regarding the deliberative meeting on Supply Management, B. Starr said that uncertainty regarding the outcome of the reauthorization effort makes it unwise to address the issue at the current meeting and offered a motion to postpone deliberations. R. Newman seconded the motion.

J. Healy suggested that the postponement should not be indefinite and should include a date for future action.

Following a discussion of the advisability of attaching a certain date to the motion, B. Starr offered a new motion and R. Newman withdrew his second.

Motion 10/6-3 by Bobby Starr/Second by Jay Healy

Moved to postpone the deliberation and decision on the proposed supply management program until the next regular monthly commission meeting.


New Business:

Committee on Administration Recommendations:

D. Erb asked if the monthly handler audits ever result in new information and changes. K. Becker said the audits occasionally require bookkeeping changes but the nature of the information is proprietary and thus cannot be reported to the public.

Motion 10/6-4 by Ron Newman on behalf of the Committee on Administration

Moved that the commission accept and approve the federal milk market administrator's invoice - July pool and accounting and audits completed in August for the amount of $11,472.00


Motion 10/6-5 by Ron Newman on behalf of the Committee on Administration

Moved that the commission pay the law firm of Hoff, Curtis, Pacht, Cassidy and Frame, P.C. the remainder of the amount due of $44,133.52 as recommended by the committees on finance and administration.


M. Schmidle offered background on the legal bill.

D. Erb questioned the process of hiring outside counsel. It was explained to her by K. Becker that the nature of the hearing process sometimes requires outside counsel be contracted.

M. Schmidle said the Committee on Administration recommends that Linda Dyer be placed on the Bylaws and Audit committees, the same seats vacated by Dyer's predecessor.

M. Kassler presented to the Commission a press release issued by West Lynn Creamery describing proposed price hikes.

Regulations Committee:

B. Starr said the school milk reserve account contained about $943,000 as of 9-30-99, of which $208,000 will be sent to schools for the '98-'99 school year, and $50,000 will be put in reserve for the '99-'00 school year, leaving $685,000 that the committee recommends to be returned to producer-settlement fund for distribution to farmers through the September pool paid in October.

Motion 10/6-6 by Bobby Starr on behalf of the Regulations Committee

Moved to return the surplus in the amount of $685,000 from the school milk reserve account to the producer-settlement fund to be added to the total pool value in calculation of the producer price for September milk.


Because there was such a large surplus, B. Starr said the school milk reserve should be lowered from 3 percent to 1 percent in future months.

Motion 10/6-7 by Bobby Starr on behalf of the Regulations Committee

Moved to reduce the reserve amount from 3 percent to 1 percent of the producer pool for the school milk reserve account in each month that there is a compact producer pool.


B. Starr then said there was a surplus in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) account in the amount of $160,073 as of Dec. 31, 1998. B. Starr suggested this money also be put in the producer-settlement fund for payment to farmers through the September pool paid in October.

M. Kassler added that the memorandum between the Commission and the state WIC programs is being clarified with regard to the dates for returning this money, if any, in the future.


Motion 10/6-8 by Bobby Starr on behalf of the Regulations Committee

Moved to return the surplus in the WIC reserve account on Dec. 31, 1998 in the amount of $160,073 to the producer-settlement fund, to be added to the total pool value in calculation of the producer price for September milk.


Next Meeting Date:

A conflict with Nov. 3, the first Wednesday and the traditional date of the Commission meeting, required a change of date.

Motion 10/6-8 by Andy Dykstra/Second by Peter Petrone

Moved to hold the next Commission meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 1999 at a location to be determined by the staff.


The meeting was adjourned at 12:20 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,




Powell Cabot, Secretary

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