(a) Program required

The Secretary shall establish a program under which milk producers and cooperative associations of producers are authorized to voluntarily enter into forward price contracts with milk handlers.

(b) Minimum milk price requirements

Terms Used In 7 USC 8772

  • association: when used in reference to a corporation, shall be deemed to embrace the words "successors and assigns of such company or association" in like manner as if these last-named words, or words of similar import, were expressed. See 1 USC 5
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.

Payments made by milk handlers to milk producers and cooperative associations of producers, and prices received by milk producers and cooperative associations, in accordance with the terms of a forward price contract authorized by subsection (a), shall be treated as satisfying–

(1) all uniform and minimum milk price requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (F) of paragraph (5) of section 608c of this title; and

(2) the total payment requirement of subparagraph (C) of that paragraph.

(c) Milk covered by program

(1) Covered milk

The program shall apply only with respect to the marketing of federally regulated milk that–

(A) is not classified as Class I milk or otherwise intended for fluid use; and

(B) is in the current of interstate or foreign commerce or directly burdens, obstructs, or affects interstate or foreign commerce in federally regulated milk.

(2) Relation to Class I milk

To assist milk handlers in complying with paragraph (1)(A) without having to segregate or otherwise individually track the source and disposition of milk, a milk handler may allocate milk receipts from producers, cooperatives, and other sources that are not subject to a forward contract to satisfy the obligations of the handler with regard to Class I milk usage.

(d) Voluntary program

(1) In general

A milk handler may not require participation in a forward pricing contract as a condition of the handler receiving milk from a producer or cooperative association of producers.

(2) Pricing

A producer or cooperative association described in paragraph (1) may continue to have their 1 milk priced in accordance with the minimum payment provisions of the Federal milk marketing order.

(3) Complaints

(A) In general

The Secretary shall investigate complaints made by producers or cooperative associations of coercion by handlers to enter into forward contracts.

(B) Action

If the Secretary finds evidence of coercion, the Secretary shall take appropriate action.

(e) Duration

(1) New contracts

No forward price contract may be entered into under the program established under this section after September 30, 2023.

(2) Application

No forward contract entered into under the program may extend beyond September 30, 2026.