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BILL AS PASSED BY SENATE 2007-2008

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S.322

AN ACT RELATING TO THE VERMONT DAIRY PROMOTION COUNCIL

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds:

(1)  Vermont’s conventional dairy farmers have lost purchasing power in recent decades because the farm gate price paid for their milk has not kept pace with inflation.  In 1980, the average price paid was $13.06 per hundredweight, which, when adjusted for inflation, is equivalent to $30.95 in 2006 dollars.  The average price for milk in 2006 was $12.88.

(2)  The farmer’s share of the retail dollar continues to slide. In the United States, the farmer’s share of the retail food dollar fell from a high of 40 percent in 1973 to below 20 percent in 2000.

Sec. 2.  6 V.S.A. § 2978(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Included among the powers of the council in connection with the enforcement of this chapter are the powers to require reports from any person subject to this chapter; to adopt, rescind, modify, and amend all proper and necessary rules, regulations and orders to administer this chapter, which rules, regulations and orders shall be promulgated by publication in the manner prescribed therefor by the council and shall have the force and effect of law when not inconsistent with existing laws; to administer oaths, subpoena witnesses, take depositions, and certify to official acts; to require any dealer to keep such true and accurate records and to make such reports covering purchases, sales, and receipts of dairy products and related matters as the council deems reasonably necessary for effective administration, which records shall be open to inspection by the secretary of agriculture, food and markets at any reasonable time and as often as may be necessary, but information thus obtained shall not be published or be open to public inspection in any manner revealing any individual dealer's identity, except as required in proceedings to enforce compliance; to keep accurate books, records, and accounts of all of its dealings, and to make annually a full report of its doings to the house and senate committees on agriculture and the governor, which shall show the amount of money received and the expenditures thereof.  The report shall use generally accepted accounting practices and a comprehensive cost–benefit analysis to determine the return per hundredweight to the individual farmer on their investment in promotion.  The exact return per dollar of investment shall be reported. The report shall also include an analysis of using a competitive bid process for promotion activities supported by the council. The report shall be submitted on or before January 1.  The Vermont agency of agriculture, food and markets shall perform the administrative work of the council as directed by the council.  The council shall reimburse the agency of agriculture, food and markets for the cost of services performed by the agency.

Sec. 3.  LIVESTOCK STUDY

The legislative council shall consult with local producers, the Vermont congressional delegation, the agency of agriculture, and the department of education and develop proposals for a Vermont locally produced meat in schools program. The goals shall be to use existing resources to procure locally produced food products processed in Vermont and inspected by the Vermont agency of agriculture, to bolster the safety of the food in schools while supporting the Vermont agricultural industry.

Sec. 4.  AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE SLAUGHTER ON PREMISES STUDY

In recent years there has been increasing interest in the slaughter of animals on the farm for use by other households for economic, ethnic, and humane reasons. The concept has been supported by adherents of community supported agriculture as well. Because of the interrelationship of state and federal statutes and rules pertaining to the practice, what leeway exists for state action is not clear. The agency of agriculture shall consult with federal authorities and report on what options are available. The agency shall also look at what other solutions might be proposed such as cooperative custom slaughterhouses. The report shall also look at the cost of building approved facilities in Vermont and compare that with other states in order to try to provide more options for Vermont producers.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us