The Milk Producer’s Security Fund (the Fund) was established in 1984 under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 10 Section 48 to serve as a security net that would allow for Massachusetts’s independent dairy producers, those not a member of a full-service cooperative, to receive payment for their milk in the event of a milk dealer default. Payments of five cents per hundredweight were made by milk dealers on behalf of independent producers to the state treasurer and into the Fund from 1984 to 1997. Since payment suspension in March 1997, money has remained in the Fund and accrued interest.
In December 2013, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law Chapter 191 of the Acts of 2013, an Act Relative to the Milk Producer’s Security Fund Reimbursement, thereby allowing for money held in the Fund to be reimbursed back to those dairy producers who paid in. The legislation states that a contributing producer, after application approved by the Commissioner, may be eligible to be “reimbursed up to an amount equal to the monies paid by the applicant into the fund minus any funds previously distributed to said applicant plus a pro rata share of the interest earned by the fund”. The Commissioner shall establish criteria for the approval of such applications, and shall not authorize any reimbursement that will result in the Fund’s balance to be less than one million dollars.
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (Department) issued reimbursement payments to eligible producers during the spring of 2015. At the time of payment, approximately $2.1 million existed in the Fund, allowing the Department to reimburse up to $1.1 million. Monies available for reimbursement covered all direct payments made into the Fund plus approximately $190,000 of interest distributed pro rata.
Upon completion of the reimbursement process, a small number of contributing dairy producers remained unidentified. Past dairy producers who may have contributed to the Milk Producer Security Fund or anyone with information relative to those who may have paid in are encouraged to contact Catherine de Ronde at (617) 626-1811 or Catherine.de.Ronde@state.ma.us.