WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture will cost dairy farmers $262 million this year by illegally reducing by 32 cents per hundredweight the price it will pay for milk, ten dairy co-ops claim in Federal Court. The USDA violated a slew of federal laws in its July 31 ruling, which will cost dairy farmers an additional $156 million a year for the next nine years, the complaint states – a $1.6 billion hit.
The USDA ruling affects federal milk marketing orders, which, by law, must consider costs of feed, energy and economic conditions, the farmers say. The reduced prices take effect Aug. 22. The farmers demand immediate relief.
They say the price reduction is particularly outrageous in light of the recent runup in fuel prices, which affect the price of feed, economic conditions, and other aspects of farming. They say the process the USDA used was procedurally, as well as substantively, flawed.
Plaintiffs’ lead counsel is Benjamin Yale of Waynesfield, Ohio.