senate Bill S276

Authorizes the department of agriculture and markets to notify individual producers of milk in a dairy cooperative of any proposed agreements and orders

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 07 / Jan / 2009
    • REFERRED TO AGRICULTURE
  • 06 / Jan / 2010
    • REFERRED TO AGRICULTURE

Summary

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Bill Details

Versions:
S276
Legislative Cycle:
2009-2010
Current Committee:
Senate Agriculture
Law Section:
Agriculture and Markets Law

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER: S276

TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to
notification of milk producers under certain circumstances


PURPOSE :
To authorize the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets (the
Commissioner) to notify milk producers who are members of certain
dairy cooperatives in the event of proposed changes to milk marketing
agreements and/or orders.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS :
Section 16 of the Agriculture and Markets Law (AML), which refers to
the general powers and duties of the Commissioner, is amended to
provide the above requirement.

JUSTIFICATION :
In 1999, dairy farmers across New York and other states voted on a
referendum that was perhaps the most significant change in dairy
policy in sixty years. Many, however, never actually voted on the
issues that no doubt have an impact on their milk check every month.
Instead, their dairy marketing cooperatives cast the vote in a
procedure called "bloc voting."

While bloc voting can be a useful tool under certain circumstances,
this procedure basically serves as a time saving means - but not
always in the best interest of individual producers. Bloc voting
essentially eliminates a diary farmer's democratic right to vote his
or her conscience on matters that affect them financially every day of
their lives. Indeed, since dairy cooperatives and their members do not
always share identical interests, we should not be asking farmers to
ignore that fact.

Unfortunately, the ability to change this procedure lies at the level
of federal government. This does not mean, however, that New York -
one of the top producing dairy states in the country should not at
least make an effort to keep individual cooperative members apprised
of proposed changes to existing federal orders (or state-administered
orders in the case of Western New York). This is especially true since
the administrative offices of many cooperatives make little effort to
inform their memberships about pending referendums. Time and again,
farmers have indicated that they weren't even aware that a vote on
marketing order changes had occurred.

When New York passed legislation in 1998 to become part of the
Northeast Dairy Compact, a provision was included that allowed
individual farmers in our state to cast individual ballots, even if
their cooperatives opted to bloc vote. While the Compact was never
reauthorized by Congress, that compromise was indicative of New York's
tradition of fairness and appreciation for those who work so hard for
our viable, competitive dairy industry. This bill seeks the same
laudable goal.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
2007-08 S.5106-A Agriculture; A.1296-A Passed Assembly

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
Minimal. The Department currently maintains information on milk
producers in the state; program administrators would simply need to
compile the information in an appropriate format and notify
accordingly.

EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect immediately.
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