Agricultural Marketing Service
News Release

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USDA Announces Tentative Final Decision to

Release No. 191-02

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



WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2002 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced a tentative final decision to amend the pooling provisions of the Pacific Northwest Federal milk marketing order. This decision is based on testimony and evidence given at a public hearing held Dec. 4-5, 2001, in Seattle, Wash.

This decision changes pooling standards that have resulted in milk being inappropriately pooled on the Pacific Northwest order. Specifically, this decision adopts amendments to the pool plant provisions that will: 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 decision adopts amendments that will: 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 tentative final decision will be published in the Sept. 6 Federal Register. These proposed amendments must be approved by either two-thirds of producers supplying the marketing area or by producers who supply two-thirds of the milk for the marketing area. USDA will determine whether dairy farmers approve the amended order. Interested persons have 60 days to file comments in response to the tentative decision.

For additional information about the decision contact: James R. Daugherty, Pacific Northwest Market Administrator; USDA/AMS/Dairy Programs; 11225 North 28th Drive, Suite D-120; Phoenix, Ariz. 85029-5630; Tel. (602) 547-2909; email

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