President George Bush today signed into law the Milk Regulatory Equity Act (S. 2120), effectively closing a loophole that had allowed regulatory inequities between federal and state milk marketing orders in Arizona, California and Nevada. This bill passed the U.S. Senate in December and the U.S. House of Representatives late last month.
The new law will make it illegal for plants in southwestern states to sell milk into a state milk marketing area from a federally regulated milk marketing area without complying with either state or federal pricing regulations. Specifically, milk processors in Arizona, including producer- handlers that sell more than three million pounds of fluid milk per month, will be required to comply with federal regulations. The legislation also clarifies that plants in Nevada selling into a federal milk marketing order now must abide by federal pricing regulations.
"As we approach the 2007 Farm Bill, we hope this marks the beginning of a willingness by industry, Congress and the administration to reevaluate U.S. dairy policy to reflect today's ever-changing marketplace," says International Dairy Foods Association President and CEO Connie Tipton.