Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders has crafted new legislation that would combine elements of the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact and more traditional milk subsidies to help struggling farmers. Sanders’ bill, which he calls the National Dairy Equity Act, would set up five regional marketing regions, each with a minimum price for Class I milk. Class One milk is bottled, as opposed to that used for yogurt, butter or ice cream.
When the market price falls below the minimum, processors would be forced to pay the difference into a national pool. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would then distribute the money back to the regions. That money would not be enough to compensate farmers, so the government would cover the difference.