Brubaker Legislation Would Ensure Dairy Farmers Receive Existing Premiums

HARRISBURG – Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-36) introduced legislation today that would ensure dairy farmers receive their fair share of existing milk premiums paid by consumers.

Under Pennsylvania’s Milk Marketing Law, consumers pay a 27-cent over-order premium for each gallon of milk sold in Pennsylvania. The premium is intended to be paid to dairy farmers, but a large portion of this premium is not reaching its intended recipient. Former Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff estimated in December that between $15 million and $25 million in premiums paid by consumers in 2009 did not reach dairy farmers.

“The Milk Marketing Law clearly intends to distribute these premiums to producers, but the state lacks a fair and equitable system to properly distribute this money to dairy farmers,” Brubaker said. “The entire dairy industry has struggled through historically low prices for their product in recent years, so it has never been more important to ensure that dairy farmers receive these premiums.”

Senate Bill 993 would require all over-order premiums to be deposited directly in a new Producer Settlement Fund and distributed to all qualified dairy producers based on the total volume of milk they produce. Under current policy, only 15 to 20 percent of milk produced in Pennsylvania qualifies for the over-order premium.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the Pennsylvania State Grange have expressed support for Brubaker’s legislation.

“This legislation would provide a higher level of accountability of producer premiums paid by consumers, greater opportunity for producers to receive premiums from milk that has crossed state lines and a market-wide pool to more equitably distribute premiums among dairy producers,” said Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Director of State Governmental Relations Joel Rotz.

The legislation would also expand the Milk Marketing Board from three members to five. SB 993 was referred to the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee for consideration

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