|BILL AS INTRODUCED||2007-2008|
Introduced by Representatives Perry of Richford, Acinapura of Brandon, Ainsworth of Royalton, Allard of St. Albans Town, Bostic of St. Johnsbury, Botzow of Pownal, Branagan of Georgia, Bray of New Haven, Canfield of Fair Haven, Clark of St. Johnsbury, Consejo of Sheldon, Edwards of Brattleboro, Fallar of Tinmouth, Fitzgerald of St. Albans City, French of Randolph, Gervais of Enosburg, Gilbert of Fairfax, Godin of Milton, Howrigan of Fairfield, Hutchinson of Randolph, Johnson of South Hero, Johnson of Canaan, Keenan of St. Albans City, Kilmartin of Newport City, Koch of Barre Town, Krawczyk of Bennington, Larocque of Barnet, Larrabee of Danville, LaVoie of Swanton, Lawrence of Lyndon, Malcolm of Pawlet, Marcotte of Coventry, McAllister of Highgate, Morley of Barton, Morrissey of Bennington, Nuovo of Middlebury, Otterman of Topsham, Oxholm of Vergennes, Randall of Troy, Stevens of Shoreham, Valliere of Barre City, Westman of Cambridge, Wright of Burlington, Zenie of Colchester and Zuckerman of Burlington
Subject: Agriculture; Vermont dairy assistance program
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to establish a six-month program to increase the price of milk paid to Vermont dairy farmers.
AN ACT RELATING TO ESTABLISHING THE VERMONT DAIRY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. FINDINGS; PURPOSE
The general assembly finds that Vermont dairy farmers continue to labor under the problems caused by the terrible weather of the last growing season, the high cost of fuel, and the low price paid for milk. Many farms are short of feed for the winter, and the quality of the available feed is poor. The price of fuel and the price of many farm supplies continue to rise. The price of milk continues to be well below the cost of production. Many of the vendors and service industry serving farmers have had to provide an increasing amount of credit to farmers. The general assembly adopts this act in order to assist Vermont dairy farmers and their industry in a time of great need and to prevent further loss of the industry and its infrastructure which are critical to Vermont’s agricultural economy.
Sec. 2. VERMONT DAIRY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
(a) The Vermont dairy assistance program is established to pay the difference between target prices established by the secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets and the combined announced Federal Order Statistical Uniform Price for the Middlebury Location plus the amount of the MILCX payment rate on a per hundredweight basis. The bi-monthly payments will be paid in February, April, and June of 2007, based on the amount of milk produced in the previous two months.
(b) The Farm Services Agency will provide the agency of agriculture, food and markets production data for dairy producers and assist the agency to administer the program.
(c) Dairy producers will receive a bi-monthly payment based on pounds of milk produced in the previous two months multiplied by the payment rate for the Vermont dairy assistance program rate as calculated in this section on a per hundredweight basis. The first payment will be made by the end of February 2007 based on December and January’s milk production and price data. Records on milk production will be forwarded to the agency of agriculture, food and markets from the Farm Services Agency once a release form is obtained from an individual dairy farmer. If a dairy farmer does not take part in the MILCX program, the individual farmer shall provide the agency of agriculture, food and markets with the appropriate verifiable production evidence by the 12th day of the month for the previous two months’ milk production. Acceptable forms of verifiable production evidence include: milk marketing payment stubs, bulk tank records, milk handler records, and daily milk marketing records.
(d) The payment will come as a separate check to dairy producers from the state of Vermont.
(e) Determination made within the MILCX program on farm ownership will be used with the Vermont target price program. The following is not considered commercially marketed milk and is ineligible for the Vermont target price program:
(1) Dumped milk that causes bulk load contamination for which a producer receives an insurance indemnity;
(2) Milk dumped on the farm by order of a state agriculture or health department official.
(f) Payments will begin in February 2007. All producers will begin with December milk production and will be a part of the program until the expenditure of $8 million in state funding is exhausted.
Sec. 3. APPROPRIATION
There is appropriated in fiscal year 2007 the sum of $8,000,000.00 to the department of finance and management to process payments for emergency assistance for dairy farms under the Vermont dairy assistance program established in this act.
Sec. 4. Effective Date
This bill shall take effect on passage.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street