With the departure of Vermont Senator James Jeffords from the Republican party, some speculate his loss of clout could mean the end of the Northeast Dairy Compact, which Jeffords strongly supported. Midwest farmers have complained that artificially raising prices for New England milk producers isn’t fair, but Gordy Toyne, a buyer for Swiss Valley Farms in Iowa, says we may not feel it here.He says ending the compact won’t change anything right away, and the open market may have more effect on prices, according to Toyne. Swiss Valley buys two billion pounds of milk a year from farmers in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. Toyne says farmer-owned co-ops help dairy producers get the best price. Co-ops like Swiss Valley market raw milk to the processor and try to get the best price. He says that’s the same thing a compact does, except it’s not mandated in law. Toyne says whether or not the Northeast Dairy Compact is abolished, Iowa milk promises to bring a good price for farmers.Toyne knows some farmers want to see the Northeast Dairy Compact ended, but says mandated prices in new England have far less impact on midwest dairy farmers than production and market demand.
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