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NEW ENGLAND GOVERNORS' CONFERENCE, INC. SUPPORTS NORTHEAST INTERSTATE DAIRY COMPACT

 WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- At a Monday morning meeting of the New England Governors' Conference, Inc., the governors of the six New England States endorsed the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact and urged their respective state legislatures to pass the Compact so that it can be presented to Congress for ratification. The Compact would establish an interstate commission with the power to impose a regulated assessment upon fluid milk processors selling milk in the Compact region, and to pay the proceeds to the region's dairy farmers. For consumer protection the Compact explicitly limits the amount which can be assessed, adjustable for inflation.
 The meeting was held at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C., where the governors were attending the Annual Winter Meeting of the National Governors' Association.
 The proposed Compact, if approved by the member states, ratified by the Congress, and signed by the President, would establish a Compact Interstate Commission, composed of delegations from each state in the Compact region, with each delegation having one vote for the imposition of the assessment. The composition of each delegation would be established in separate, companion legislation passed by each member state.
 The Commission would determine the assessment amount through a formal hearing process, based on testimony of farmer costs of production and consumer ability to pay. After deciding upon an amount, the Commission would hold a producer referendum for their approval or rejection of the price.
 If approved, the assessment would be administered in a manner similar to, and with the same force of the law as, the Federal Milk Market Order System. As with Market Orders, all farmers whose milk is sold within the Compact region, regardless of their location, would receive the proceeds of the assessment. Correspondingly, all processors purchasing milk from those farmers, regardless of their location, would be subject to the assessment. Coupled with this pricing authority, the Compact directs the Commission to devise a method to ensure that the assessment does not result in increased milk production.
 An additional, marginal assessment on processors would cover administration costs. There is no cost to the member states.
 The Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact was developed over the past several months by a Committee consisting of all six New England Commissioners of Agriculture, the chairs of the two largest New England dairy cooperatives, and the two original legislative sponsors of the Compact. Vermont and Maine have already acted on the Compact. However, all six states must approve the Compact in identical form, before it can be ratified by the Congress and signed by the President. The Committee is working to develop and promote a consensus of farmer support and will conduct a dialogue with organizations and people indirectly interested in agriculture, and with consumer advocates, to build a broader based support for the Compact.
 The Committee is also working to include the states of New York and Pennsylvania in the Compact. However, the Committee has concluded that the lack of participation by those two states would not preclude a solely New England request for Congressional action.
 Additional information on the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact may be obtained by contacting Daniel Smith, Esq., executive director of the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact Committee at 802-229-1941.
 -0- 2/1/93
 /CONTACT: Daniel Smith, Esq., executive director of the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact Committee, 802-229-1941/


CO: New England Governors' Conference ST: Massachusetts IN: SU:

DH -- NE010 -- 1219 02/01/93 09:41 EST
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Date:Feb 1, 1993
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