Saturday, September 26, 2009

Busy doing nothing

(click to enlarge)

Festering in the back of my mind has been a statement, made at a meeting a couple nights ago, by a New York Senator that milk pricing is a federal issue which the state can not do much about. Not so!

NY has a milk price gouging law:

The law states:

“any time when the retail price of fluid milk exceeds two hundred percent of the price for class I fluid milk, it shall be the responsibility of the commissioner in consultation with state and local agencies as the commissioner deems appropriate, to examine the price of fluid milk at retail to determine if the prices of fluid milk sold or offered for sale in the state or in any area thereof appear to the commissioner unconscionably excessive.”

That means twice the price of farm milk – plain and simple. Around my neck of the woods, that means price in the local supermarket should not be higher than $2.23 per gallon.

How many people will be amazed to know this law has never, ever been enforced?

In January 2009 New York Commissioner of Agriculture, Patrick Hooker, posted some spin the department’s web site (see above). They stopped collecting data in November 2008.

Here’s the point, and the point could be repeated ad infinitum at both federal and state levels, if the laws on the books were enforced, farmers would be getting a decent milk check right now. Most law governing co-ops is state law.

If, the processors and the retailers had had to live with what the New York dairy farmers have had to live with this year, they, the processors and retailers would be begging for farm milk prices to go up immediately. Instead they are enjoying the trip to the bank.

At the same meeting at least two farmers told me the commissioner will not return their calls.


  1. In PA, the PMMB is setting the retail prices, and are in bed with the processors just like the co-ops!

  2. We have called and reported excessive milk prices in the store to ag and markets in the past. They said they only enforced it in major chain stores and not the mom and pop stores. Seems the law doesn't descriminate who's selling it. I wonder what milk is selling for in Manhatten? Milk prices here range from $1.99 to $3.50. I always wondered why the bottlers/retailers wouldn't want higher class I milk prices. 200% of $2.00 is more than 200% of $1.00. But I guess if you can get away with 350% of $1.00 then that's even better. The phone number for milk violations in NY is: 1-518-457-5731.

    Tim Tucek

  3. What is the penalty for milk price gouging? Seems like this law has no teeth to discourage them from doing it. How about first violation $1000, second $5000, third $25000. The consumers would benefit and the state would get some much needed revenue. Maybe they could lower taxes to the rest of us.