Louisiana ponders dairy product fee

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If one Louisiana legislator has his way, the state’s dairy industry will have a new Dairy Development Fund to help dairy sustain itself. Rep. Francis Thompson (D-Delhi) has proposed legislation to create the account that would be funded by a 1 percent fee on all dairy products sold in the state.

It would be administered by the agriculture commissioner, and could grow by as much as $10 million annually. Legislative analysts are working on estimates of how much the proposal would truly bring into the fund’s coffers. Thompson says he wants the fund to be used for a wide variety of projects to prevent further erosion of Louisiana’s dairy industry.

However, opponents of the bill, like the Louisiana Retailers Association, say it will increase consumer cost for dairy products because grocery store owners will pass the price hike along to their customers.

The state’s ag commissioner indicates that the monies will actually be used for new in-store milk and dairy inspections, not for dairy promotions or financial awards to individual producers. Furthermore, he doesn’t think the fund will bring in tens of millions of dollars.

Still, according to a recent report by the Louisiana Dairy Industry Task Force, the state’s dairy industry needs all the help it can get. And this bill is just one of several aimed at providing economic incentives and relief to the Louisiana dairy business.

Times-Picayune



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