Pennsylvania State Grange is one of the latest farm organizations to weigh in on what turned out to be a $50-million loss in under-priced milk. Last week, State Grange President Betsy Huber asked U.S. Ag Secretary Mike Johanns to see to "that dairy farmers be promptly and fully reimbursed."
USDA's investigation of misreported nonfat dry milk prices in the 15 months ending with April 2007 cost dairy farmers $50 million. "2006 was a difficult year for dairy producers," added Huber. "Most producers' costs were increasing while the price received was at a 20-year low. It's only fair that USDA and the manufacturing plants that under-reported pricing make amends for their malfeasance."
The reporting errors affected more than Class 4 powder price, she noted. For several months, correct data could have increased the Class 1 prices in all federal and state market orders.
Mandatory reporting and verification protocols have been in the works since the 2002 Farm Bill. National Milk Producers Federation asked USDA again in April to implement the protocols. "USDA is about 1,500 days late and $50 million short" in taking action, according to Chris Galen, NMPF vice president of communications.