Milk Compacts Poor Substitute for Federal Pricing (210)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– Federal milk pricing policies are preferable to regional pacts, a University of Tennessee dairy economist said Monday.

 Dr. David Hunter of the UT Agriculture Extension Service said federal milk policy has been refined and adjusted since the 1930s and should not be discarded.

 “If we totally dismantle the federal milk marketing ordering system, it will just be a matter of time until we start trying to build something back in its place.”

 Dairy farmers are seeking better, more stable prices for their milk.

 In New England farmers have already formed the Northeast Dairy Compact to set minimum milk prices and a similar effort is underway in the Southeast, Hunter said.

 Louisiana and Arkansas have agreed to join a dairy compact and 13 other southern states, including Tennessee, are looking at the option.

 Interest in the compacts has grown since last year when efforts to reach agreement on pricing policies in the federal Farm Bill were unsuccessful, Hunter said.

 “It is very difficult to come up with policy that’s agreeable to all regions of the country,” Hunter said. “The different regions are beginning to set their own boundaries and protect their own territories.”

 Tennessee has been less active than some other states in the effort to form a Southeast compact, Hunter said.

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 Contact: Dr. David Hunter (423-974-7271)