Agricultural Marketing Service
News Release

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USDA Announces Final Decision to Amend Pac

Release No. 034-04

Becky Unkenholz (202) 720-8998
Billy Cox (202) 720-8998



WASHINGTON, April 8, 2004 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced a final decision that will make permanent changes in provisions under the Pacific Northwest Federal milk marketing order that were previously implemented on an interim basis. This decision is based on testimony and evidence given at a public hearing held Dec. 4-5, 2002, in Seattle, Wash.

This final decision permanently adopts amendments to the pool plant provisions that: 1) establish a "cooperative pool manufacturing plant"; 2) establish system pooling for cooperative manufacturing plants; and 3) eliminate a supply plant feature applicable to cooperative supply plants.

For the producer milk provisions, this final decision adopts amendments that: 1) establish a "touch-base" standard specifying that at least three days' milk production of a dairy farmer during the month needs to be delivered to a pool plant in order for the rest of the farmer's milk to be eligible for diversion to nonpool plants; 2) set a year-round limit of 80 percent on the amount of milk that can be diverted from pool to nonpool plants; and 3) provide authority to the market administrator to adjust the touch-base standard.

The final decision will be published in the April 9 Federal Register. USDA will conduct a vote on the amended order to determine producer approval. If producers approve the order as amended by this final decision, a final rule will follow to implement these changes.

For additional information about the decision contact:

James R. Daugherty, Pacific Northwest Market Administrator
1930-220th Street, S.E. Suite 102
Bothell, WA 98021-8471
Telephone: (425) 487-6009


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