Wednesday, January 27, 2010
State agriculture officials are asking lawmakers to raise some fees for dairy processors, haulers and others.
State Agriculture Deputy Secretary Constantine Cotsoradis says the bill is an effort to protect the struggling dairy industry from further drops in prices.
Milk prices have dropped 50% since reaching record levels in 2007. Cotsoradis says at least 50 of the state's Grade A dairies have closed in the last two years.
The new fees would help the agriculture department's dairy inspection program, which is required so the state's dairies can ship milk across state lines.
Cotsoradis acknowledges that the increased fees could hurt some struggling dairy farmers, but it would be a serious blow if the state is not in compliance with the interstate milk shippers agreement.