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NO. R-110. JOINT RESOLUTION URGING CONGRESS TO REVERSE THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE'S PROPOSED REVISIONS TO THE FEDERAL MILK PRICING SYSTEM AND REQUESTING CONGRESS TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO ADOPT INSTEAD THE OPTION 1A REVISIONS TO THE PRICING SYSTEM.

(J.R.H. 91)

Offered by: Committee on Agriculture.

Whereas, the continued viability of dairy farming in Vermont is absolutely essential to Vermont's economic well-being and the preservation of the state's magnificent working landscape, and

Whereas, on a daily basis, Vermont's dairy exports are worth in excess of $1 million, and

Whereas, the working landscape that Vermont's dairy farmers have so diligently striven to maintain attracts many visitors, artists, scholars and new businesses, all of whom increase the state's economic prosperity, and

Whereas, most unfortunately, the United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) has recently proposed an alleged reform of the milk marketing pricing system which would substantially reduce the price that Vermont farmers are annually paid for their milk by a projected $6,000.00 per farm, and

Whereas, this proposal would annually cost dairy farmers in the northeastern United States between $80 million and $120 million, and

Whereas, while this proposal creates a new pricing structure that is economically devastating for Vermont's dairy farmers and does not reduce milk prices for most consumers in the United States, and

Whereas, this alleged milk pricing reform would directly contradict the historic underlying principle of the federal milk pricing system that the freshest possible milk be delivered to urban markets in an orderly manner, and

Whereas, while the federal proposal is being promoted as a reform, in reality it will create a severe financial hardship for the transporters of milk by discouraging them from supplying the urban markets, and

Whereas, the U.S.D.A. had previously developed several alternative pricing systems, including Option 1A, which treated all areas of the country equitably and had geographically broad support in Congress, and

Whereas, Option 1A included many real reforms to the federal milk pricing system that would be beneficial to both dairy farmers and consumers, and

Whereas, it is imperative that this legislature declare its strong opposition for the U.S.D.A. proposal that could result in the closing of many Vermont dairy farms, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly strongly urges the United States Congress to reverse the final decision of the United States Department of Agriculture to implement the proposed revisions to the federal milk pricing system that are so economically inequitable to Vermont's dairy farmers and to direct the department to adopt instead the much fairer Option 1A, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, the Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, Representative Larry Combest of Texas and to each member of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.