The process to amend the pricing formulas in the 11 Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMO) continues to move forward. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service announced details about the hearing that will begin on Wednesday, August 23, 2023, at 9 a.m. Eastern time.
The hearing will take place in Carmel, Ind. In addition to other witnesses, dairy farmers may testify during the hearing in person, or they can participate virtually during specified time slots available on Fridays, starting on September 1, 2023. Each dairy farmer will be allowed up to 15 minutes to present testimony, with the possibility to request additional time. Pre-registration is required to testify virtually.
Earlier this summer, dozens of proposals came in from dairy organizations across the country. Since then, it has been a bit of a waiting game to see which proposals would be included in the discussion. According to the hearing notice, 22 of the proposals were chosen.
Testimony will be heard by subject area, in the following order:
- Milk composition
- Surveyed commodity prices
- Class III and Class IV formula factors
- Base Class I skim milk price
- Class I and Class II differentials
- AMS proposal
The hearing will continue until the presiding judge determines it is complete. Following the hearing, the hearing record will be made available online for individuals and organizations to review and submit suggested corrections. Then, participants will be able to file posthearing briefs.
At that point, USDA will issue a recommended decision, which will follow with an open period for comments and exceptions to be filed. After this process, the USDA will issue a final decision and, if approved, will announce when the amendments will become effective. If all steps stay on schedule, this process would be expected to wrap up about a year from now, in July of 2024.
For more information, review the official hearing notice.