Latest News

NMPF Comments on Proposed Producer-Handler Rule

June 1, 2010


NMPF Comments on Proposed Producer-Handler Rule

In comments made last month to USDA, NMPF praised USDA’s recommended decision to limit the producer-handler exemption to smaller plants as a substantial improvement over the status quo, and praised the agency for sticking to their new congressionally-mandated timelines.

However, NMPF urged USDA to add criteria for producer-handlers, including unique labeling and independent ownership requirements, that could help prevent the multiplication of exempted producer-handlers within a larger operation. In addition, NMPF pointed out flawed language in USDA’s draft that would make the limit ineffective by allowing producer-handlers to have unlimited sales of packaged milk to other plants.

NMPF’s comments were submitted on December 21, in response to the recommended decision published by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service in the October 21 Federal Register. This decision would only allow producer-handlers with less than three million pounds of route sales of packaged fluid milk to qualify for the current exemption from pricing and pooling requirements under the Federal Order. NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) had initiated last year’s hearing by petitioning for the elimination of the producer-handler provisions, and the expansion of the exempt plant definition to allow smaller plants to maintain their exemption. NMPF had also proposed grandfathering producer-handler plants with less than three million pounds of sales, and with the marketing and ownership conditions that NMPF now urges USDA to reconsider for the general producer-handler exemption.

Links to most of the documents from the hearing can be found on the USDA website at If you have questions about NMPF’s position, call Roger Cryan at the NMPF office.