For Immediate Release, November 9, 1998

Contact: Tina Wisell, (802) 229-1941

Farmers Okay Amendment to Northeast Dairy Compact Regulation:

Limits Placed on Amount of Diverted and Transferred Milk Eligible for Payments

The amendment adopted by the Northeast Dairy Compact Commission on October 7, 1998 to place seasonal limits on the amount of milk that can be diverted or transferred from the region and still be eligible for Compact payments was overwhelmingly approved by producer referendum today. The new rule will take effect on January 1, 1999.

The producer referendum completes the legal procedure required for a regulation change and is the last step in the rulemaking process that the Commission began in June out of concern that the Compact premium might be attracting milk from outside the region that was not needed to supply New England. Of the 2,989 verified ballots cast during the referendum, 99.2%, or 2,966 supported the regulation change. To become effective, the diversions and transfers amendment had to be approved by two-thirds of all producers voting by referendum who receive disbursements under the Compact price regulation.

Commission Vice Chair and Referendum Agent Mae Schmidle said, "We are very pleased that all farmers in the region are working together for the benefit of all New England farmers regardless of their herd sizes or amounts of production. The overwhelming support in favor of the regulation change certainly indicates that New England farmers support the goals and directions of the Northeast Dairy Compact."

Beginning next year, the Compact regulation will limit the payment of the Compact over-order producer price to milk disposed of in the Compact area with a seasonally adjusted allowance for diverted or transferred milk. Milk handlers will be allowed to divert or transfer up to 8% of their total producer receipts during the fall months, 10% in transition months, and 13% in spring months. Any amount of milk diverted or transferred above those percentages will not qualify as eligible for the Compact payment.

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