Pennsylvania Mulls Longer Notification Time For Ending Milk Contracts

The new provision would require processors to give 90 days notice of contract termination. ( Istockphoto )

The Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board wants dairy processors to give farmers 90 days of notice when they are cancelling a milk contract. Currently, processors are required to give just 28 days notice.

Last year, Dean Foods terminated the milk contracts of 27 dairy farmers in Pennsylvania, though the company did give 90 days of notice. Legally, though, the company was only required to give 28 days notice and mailing time could have cut that time window even shorter, says Jayne Sebright, executive director of Pennsylvania’s Center for Dairy Excellence.

The proposed change does include a hardship provision for processors since some customer agreements are non-contractual and can be cancelled with little notice. For example, school districts can switch to another processor mid-year and food retailers can go out of business or switch vendors without notice.

The proposed change in regulation was published last month, reports Farm and Dairy. Comment period on the proposal ends August 12. In a best case scenario, the amended law could go into effect early next year.

 
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