Hearings to modernize Federal Milk Marketing Orders have resumed with a lot of work ahead. Roger Cryan, chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, talks about where the hearings are at in the schedule.
Cryan says, “What’s happening right now is USDA has resumed the hearing that broke in mid-October that went on for eight weeks before that. There’s a hope to get that done in these two weeks. Right now, the topic is Class One and Class Two differentials. And there’s a long set of witnesses to go over a lot of details for National Milk’s proposal, and I expect another large set of witnesses to go over the Milk Innovation Group’s proposal.”
Cryan says there is still one big topic left to cover: price differentials.
He says, “Well, the big thing we’re looking forward to is presenting our proposal to raise the Class Two differential, which right now is 70 cents per hundredweight, and we are proposing to raise that to $1.56 per hundredweight, and I look forward to USDA recognizing that the logic of their decision for order reform means that they really should be increasing the Class Two price for the benefit of farmers.”
He says there is still a long way to go in the FMMO reform process. Cryan says, “If the hearing doesn’t wrap up by the end of next week, which it probably won’t, they’re almost certain to pick it up again in January, which is of course another two months’ delay in moving things forward. Every additional month it takes to finish the hearing is another month that’s going to delay the eventual implementation of this thing. If everything moves really swiftly after a January completion, none of these things are likely to take effect until at least the beginning of 2025. So, it’s a long process.”
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