Sticky wicket in Pennsylvania

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A legal tussle has ensued over milk produced and processed in Pennsylvania and sold in New Jersey. The Governor’s Office has fired the latest volley.

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell and Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff last week petitioned the Commonwealth Court to reverse the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board’s April 1 order that blocks Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers from collecting additional premiums from dealers selling milk in New Jersey.

“By ignoring a mountain of evidence, the Milk Marketing Board failed to do its most important job — help more dairy farmers get a fair price for their milk,” Rendell says.

Doug Eberly, general counsel for the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board, declined comment when contacted by Dairy Herd Management on Monday. “Since it’s a Board order and it’s being appealed, we’re not saying anything.” 

In a press release immediately following the order on April 1, the Marketing Board noted the original proposal would have required Pennsylvania processors to pay a mandated premium on milk produced and processed in Pennsylvania and sold in New Jersey. The Board found that affected milk dealers would most likely reduce voluntary payments to Pennsylvania producers or seek to buy from non-Pennsylvania producers rather than pay the mandated premium.

In both situations, Pennsylvania producers would realize no increased income, according to the Board’s statement.

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