The Fluid Milk Promotion Act of 1990, as amended, (Fluid Milk Act) (7 U.S.C. 6401 et seq.) authorized the establishment of a national processor program for fluid milk promotion and education. The Fluid Milk Order became effective December 10, 1993. The Secretary appointed the initial National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board (Fluid Milk Board) on June 6, 1994. Processors administer the Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Program through the Fluid Milk Board.
Since August 2002, processors marketing more than 3 million pounds of fluid milk per month, excluding those fluid milk products delivered to the residence of a consumer, fund this program through a 20-cent per hundredweight assessment on fluid milk processed and marketed in consumer-type packages in the contiguous 48 States and the District of Columbia. From 1996 to 2002, processors marketing 500,000 pounds or more funded the program. The Fluid Milk Board’s revenue for the January 1 through December 31, 2008, period was $107.2 million.
The Fluid Milk Act required the Secretary to conduct a referendum among fluid milk processors funding the program to determine if a majority favored implementing the program. In the October 1993 referendum, 72 percent of the processors voted to approve the implementation of the fluid milk program. These processors represented 77 percent of the volume of fluid milk products marketed by all processors during May 1993, the representative period set for the referendum. USDA held a continuation referendum in February-March 1996. Of the processors voting in that referendum, nearly 65 percent favored continuation of the program. These processors represented 71 percent of the volume of fluid milk products marketed by all processors during September 1995, the representative period set for the referendum.
In November 1998, USDA held another continuation referendum at the request of the Fluid Milk Board. Fluid milk processors voted to continue a national program for fluid milk promotion established by the Fluid Milk Order. Of the processors voting in this referendum, 54 percent favored continuation of the order. These processors represented 86 percent of the fluid milk products processed and marketed by fluid milk processors voting in the referendum. The Fluid Milk Act and Order state that USDA will hold future referenda upon the request of the Fluid Milk Board, of processors representing 10 percent or more of the volume of the fluid milk products marketed by those processors voting in the last referendum, or when called by the Secretary.